IN THE ALLEY
Possums get caught in the garbage cans and die,
which is more convenient than when they die of something mysterious
and you have to scoop them up with your snow shovel
and toss them into an old box for the garbage haulers.
Once my brother and I found one in a disposable cooler.
It was winter and the cold bit at our faces.
We were kicking things over
and we must have kicked that cooler.
Its face was fear-washed:
the lips pulled back; the teeth sudden and sharp and cinched.
Every bit of it all white
except for a thin slash of pink around the mouth and eyes.
And the eyes: shattered by hemic lines.
Everything around it all white,
and the snow—still falling on us—collected in unbroken flakes on the end of its fur.
J.J. Starr was born and raised in Chicago. Her work has appeared in Drunken Boat. She currently lives in New York City