(8-24 October 1992) after William Cullen Bryant

There’s no science in the dead possum, little and lying on its side in our yard, its mouth open, its eyes open, its hind foot chewed off to the knee. No life, no science, and no religion, as I dig a hole to bury it. It can’t speak now, it never could, but without its death I wouldn’t give its life a second thought. Why is it here? In what burrow, under what building was it born? Was it driven here by fear? Was it desperate for food or water? What speeding car, what roaming dog delivered it from its free state to this, from the world in which it was nothing to me to this world? I look at it as I dig its little hole and slide its stiff body in with my hoe so that our daughter when she comes out will see only a small pile of clumps of dirt and the tools that I have hidden it with.