Backing out the driveway the car lights cast an eerie glow in the morning fog centering on movement in the rain slick street Hitting brakes I anticipate a squirrel or a cat or sometimes a little raccoon I once braked for a blind little mole who try though he did could not escape the cat toying with his life Mother-to-be possum occasionally lopes home . . . being naturally . . . slow her condition makes her even more ginger We need a sign POSSUM CROSSING to warn coffee-gurgling neighbors: we share the streets with more than trucks and vans and railroad crossings All birds being the living kin of dinosaurs think themselves invincible and pay no heed to the rolling wheels while they dine on an unlucky rabbit I hit brakes for the flutter of the lights hoping it's not a deer or a skunk or a groundhog coffee splashes over the cup which I quickly put away from me and into the empty passenger seat I look . . . relieved and exasperated ... to discover I have just missed a big wet leaf struggling . . . to lift itself into the wind and live
"Possum Crossing" from Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea by Nikki Giovanni. Copyright © 2002 by Nikki Giovanni. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Born in 1943, Nikki Giovanni is the author of numerous collections of poetry and was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.
Date Published: 2003-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/possum-crossing