Opossum

Sticky-out hair like a badly made brush,
tail like a rat, snout like a hog,
rough-tough-nasty to the touch,

peculiar feet like hands wrongly placed,
you didn’t come high
in the Beauty Queen stakes!

You keeled over sideways until you were lying
full stretch at our feet
as if you were dying.

We got an old box, lined thickly with straw,
and lifted you in. Dead-weight as you were,
we did not feel sure

that you were now truthfully,
actually dead.
Oh, you had us fooled!

What an enactment! What a great trick!
We’d not found a heart-beat, nor felt any breath;
your show of departing was perfectly slick,

and neither in cinema nor on the stage –
where-ever they might try to re-enact death –
had we ever seen dying so perfectly faked.



Gill McEvoy was 2015 winner of the Michael Marks Award for her pamphlet “The First Telling” (Happenstance Press). She was awarded a Hawthornden fellowship in 2012.  Published by both Cinnamon press and Happenstance Press. She lives in Devon.