Illustration: house fly perched on ribs above corpse made of the universe


Once the maggots nibbled on its split belly
it looked like it was breathing again.
Life swarmed in. The opossum
was out of its fur: muscles brown,
picked over, uncovered. Vultures came
to claim what they could:
ribs as clean as wires, eyes no longer there
to show a reflection. Just empty sockets,
just bones stock-piled
beside fur, just a bit of muscle
waiting to be taken by larva lingering.
How strange when they grow dark,
seemingly dead, until
they break out of themselves and fly.

Nicole Robinson’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Grist, The Fourth River, Great River Review, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of an Individual Excellence Award in poetry from the Ohio Arts Council and serves on the board for Lit Youngstown. Nicole is currently the narrative medicine coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Opossum illustration by C.B. Auder (digital collage).

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