last night I locked eyes      with a possum
its gaze moon-dark  and gleaming
           through the bedroom window

it trying to get in
           me trying to get out

I wished so hard      for us to switch
                       we could parent-trap this baby
           I offered the possum                        silently

it could           make peanut butter toast
           and sleep       in my bed

I could            run night wild
           get to know   mother nature


on the street back when it was safe
           to speak to each other
                                  a passing student
took out an earbud
                       to say
                                            you guys just look so gorgeous!

I was carrying three litres of milk
           like a braided                      full-lipped maiden
and J was carrying    the baby

I am as gorgeous as           a deadly chameleon
or        a ‘beware of the dog’ sign
tattooed          on a lower-back

I am as gorgeous as             a vat of green slime
ready to be     poured
           over a group of unsuspecting
regional schoolchildren

this? I wanted to say           to the student
           forehead to forehead,                      preferably
shoulders held         in a grip of wisdom

this is a lake of magma
and I am sinking further every day


the possum and I kept staring           and staring
           neither of us wanting to                      blink
in case the moment                            shattered
                       above us

I was reaching out an arm  at a glacial pace
           to open the window            and
consummate                         the bond

when a car    hooned          through the valley below
           blasting          a dub remix
                       of The Wiggles’        Hot Potato

all the way up                        to my sweet new friend
           whose eyes grew       dinner-plate wide
and                  in the flick
                                      of a thick tail

scampered away
           to the black undergrowth

           the lighted path


Leah Dodd (she/her) grew up in Taranaki and lives in Pōneke, where she is currently finishing an MA at the IIML. Her poems can be found in Starling, Sweet Mammalian, Food Court, Stasis, Mayhem, and other places.