Advice from an Opossum

Ignore your brothers and sisters
until you secure your place
in the pouch. Then grow up quickly.

Once you step out on your own,
devour everything in your path,
from acorns to carrion. Revel

in delicacies to be discovered
in garbage cans. Sleep all day.
Develop the wiry muscles

in your pink, prehensile tail:
seeing the world upside down
is sometimes inspiring. Scavenge

country roads, but beware
white lights cascading across
the blacktop. If they approach,

bare all fifty of your teeth.
If that fails to stop them, perform
an Elvis: bask in the glow

as you bloat and stiffen; secrete
a horrible smell; hold
perfectly still; and dream

of swallowing the moon.

Noel Sloboda is the author of the poetry collection Shell Games (sunnyoutside, 2008) as well
as the forthcoming Our Rarer Monsters.
He has also authored a book about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. Sloboda
teaches at Penn State York and frequently works as a dramaturg for the
Harrisburg Shakespeare Company.

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