Possum Portrait

A reluctant subject, anxious of pausing

her foraging for some tasty insects to snack on,

a female Virginia opossum sniffs once

to proof the absence of threat, and then

sits up in the front yard, her ghost-white

face glowing in the tree-filtered lamplight

seeping weakly into the pre-dawn darkness,

the same face that peered from Algonquin woods,

the same black eyes that scientists say

watched dinosaurs live and die, that

saw past the dinosaurs and Algonquins,

past the settlers and builders of cities.

 

Although her kind have suffered their losses,

to coyotes and dogs, to redneck hunters

with shotguns, to the noisy machines

hurtling with ungodly speed down streets

and highways; the species has survived,

virtually unchanged, and death to her

is only a game that she has often played

and so far won. She might climb a tree

to survey her options, might enjoy

a starlight swim if the opportunity

presents itself, but she will not run away

from death; she will walk, slowly,

at her own pace, taking another

solitary journey, and if death chooses

to follow her, that is the business of death,

not of possums, to whom death is only

a trick of last resort that sometimes

works and sometimes doesn’t.

 

My particular possum, very much alive

and grown tired of posing, raises

a four-finger wave, idly licks her palm,

and ambles off to finish her scavenging and find

some dark, safe place to sleep the day away.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

Jay

jay

Perched in the tree,

he’s a subtle marvel

in his morning coat

of blue and grey,

camouflaged among the leaves

by his likeness to the patches

of sky visible between them;

but reticent only

in resting appearance,

he squawks his displeasure

at the idling cat

he dives to peck:

touché!

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

X Minus Two

My thoughts race to catch the beat

flicked out by the squirrel’s-tail metronome,

but their jousting for priority

proves as indecisive as the the duel

between the two red-breasted robins beak-fencing

on the front walk, fluttering

airborne in a rally of hits.

 

That the daffodils have risen again,

waving their yellow banners

in the advancing wind-parade of spring

assures me that Nature will marshall all this flux

into some kind of crazy order.

 

But what of my thoughts, blowing

wildly in the same wind,

swirling over the dull thud

that reminds me of the question

I sat down on the porch with my

mug of coffee to ponder:

 

How many margaritas are too many?

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

A Few Meditate on Peace as Nature Makes Her Art

Painter’s dabs of gold,

pale green, orange-red, and brown

shining glossy wet,

as if freshly stroked on canvas

by the artist’s dripping brush:

Tulsa’s Guthrie Green

in cold autumn rain,

backgrounding some six-and-ten

gathered to embrace

the warm soul of peace.

 

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper