Irene Plax and Kelly Newton

Inspiration Piece

by Kelly Newton


by Irene Plax

Response Piece

Possum spots the prize when she casts her beady eyes toward the ground.

Near her home in the forest, there is an entirely different home full of humans, which sits neatly on a square foundation. The presumptuous bounds of this structure cannot impose limitations on a shapeless cloud of scent. Possum knows to watch the trash. Their human family and her animal family glimpse each other with a mixture of curiosity and disgust. On occasion they see themselves in each other, carrying their young, carrying food to their hungry mouths.

Possum heads out, down the tree, making her way faster now.

She is running toward the trash. Her eyes had not deceived her; there are two or three entire fruit pieces.

She grabs the fruit. She rips into it, feasting until she is full. For a moment she is too full to move, but she begins to gather the fruit into her mouth, waddling.

But then there is a scuffle, and that noisy human father is in her space outside. Possum takes her fruit, squeezes behind a trash can and plays dead.

Brian had a long and terrible day. Glad to be home, the babies finally asleep after a fight, exhausted, he had made himself a much-deserved cup of tea. He reached up to the cabinet to get the sugar, and the box had tipped and spilled on top of him. It was in his hair, clothes, and even in his palms where he instinctively caught some. He could not win. He goes outside to shake himself off by the trash, and is feeling defeated when he smells dead animal.

“Shit”, he says, feeling the weight of another thing to take care of as he moves the trash can out of the way. He sees Possum, and next to her, the fruit.

He pauses to admire the technique.

“I see what you’re up to. Game over”.

He brushes the sugar from his skin but leaves it in his hair and goes inside. He lets the door slam and kicks off his shoes. He cruises past the mess in the kitchen and doesn’t bother checking on anyone else. Brian gets in his bed and shuts down. By the time he is in a REM cycle, Possum’s babies are dozing with bellies full of fruit.


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