A Young Girl Encounters Roadkill

Petra hoped that when she died
she would not be put into a box
lined with satin or anything
else slippery or petal-colored.
Her arms wound tighter around her
book as she toed up beside the possum.
The wasps nuzzled up to the split
belly, kits suckling a mother’s teats.

The dark seam
where the animal had burst
open under the thump of black rubber,
gray fur laced with lipstain,
a red her mother would never wear.

Petra crossed herself
as she stepped over the possum carcass.
Her father would never agree to a burial
without a coffin—
she would have to outlast him.

Theodosia Henney is a Pushcart Prize-nominated queer whose poems and flash prose have appeared or are forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including RHINO, Grey Sparrow Journal, Fifth Wednesday, Vestal Review, Ozone Park, and Dirtcakes. She recently returned from several months of living out of a backpack, and is profoundly excited at the prospect of having shelves again.

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