Like those of a recluse aunt, both cloistered and suspicious,
her midnight visits to our house have hardly been auspicious.
Under the mask of darkness, she ends her nightly wait.
Inching along the garden wall to circumvent the gate,
far above the threat of jaws and the dog’s wild bark,
she comes for nightly dining in the protective dark.
The cats’ leftover kibble is her nightly fare.
She comes in brief installments, until the bowl is bare.
I hear her loud enjoyment, the bowl’s scrape and the crunching,
intent on my midnight screen, I can’t resist her munching.
I steal across the tile floor, shoeless in my glide.
How can she know I’m coming, sealed as I am, inside?
Furtive, I reach the door and hear her final mastication.
But all I capture when I look is her evacuation.
She cannot hear or see me, a glass door in between,
the whole room dark behind me, yet she remains unseen.
Just one time in the dozens I think that I may
have born witness to her shadow before she slipped away.
In the lamplight’s subtle glow, I thought I saw a tail
and a mounded body obscured my nighttime’s veil.
I snapped an unlit photo and it is it alone
that bears witness to the possum outlined against the stone.
She glides so silently away to some handy location,
waiting for my departure to resume her mastication.
I know that she’s no midnight dream, no figment of delusion.
She’s that shy part of our family who prefers her seclusion.
Within my nightly flood of words she’s a welcome diversion.
I welcome that slight mystery brought on by her incursion.
I don’t hold it against her, this hide-and-seek revival,
as I pour a bit more kibble out to insure her survival.
Is it only my imagination, or can you, too, make out the mound of her body and a long, slender curled tail in the shadows of this photo—just behind the dish?