for a better day
with the local possum
hissing through its teeth
—A Hundred Gourds, March 2012
Midsummer 2011. Already, I'm ready for 2012. Record heat, record drought—and things would only get worse in the weeks to come. Still trying to sell this home, this perfectly decent home, for much longer than I care to admit to anyone. Living a life in transit: each week, back and forth from the old place to the new one up north. Whenever my cell rings, I jump. Often, it's the showing service, informing me that someone wants to see our house within the next hour or so; time to do a superficial clean-and-freshen. The same song keeps repeating itself; I'm stuck in my own Groundhog Day.
This afternoon, with forced optimism, I step outside. And there he is on the concrete breezeway, just a few feet from me, his teeth bared. We've seen him a few times during the past couple of years, though never before in the afternoon, never this close. Once a fine creature, now he's scraggly, perhaps emaciated. I run back inside while he turns and saunters off into the back yard, a bent elderly man down on his luck.