She had to give his phone
to her best friend, who found
not tit pics or even a smiling ex
but a photo of the possum
on my porch, night’s blank
slate behind it, eyeing cat food
left out for neighborhood strays.
I knew it was already roadkill.
I had found it in the road days
before. Loss is what she kept,
meaning inscribed onto
whatever he left behind.
That goddamned possum
he thought worth saving,
that and the steer skull
stowed away for safekeeping
as part of her Christmas present.
She told me to keep any bones
I found, so she could hang them
on the wall to keep the skull
company, a forest and a field
without noise, the scavengers
having already left to continue
searching for what would
fill their insatiable desires.
See: The seams where I tore apart, mended in rivers
See: A thing never quite still, living off tension
See: An orb weaver the size of a robin’s egg, coiled in the center of her web
See: How a bruise pools to shadow
See: Proof of minor resurrection
See: This account has been deactivated
See: Crushed tile
See: Another woman’s freckles
See: Up to his knees in a muddy stream
See: No translation
See: The names I’ll never hear
See: This account no longer exists
See: Small new hands
See: Reactivate. Reactivate. Reactivate.
Alyse Bensel’s poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, New South, Bone Bouquet, and elsewhere. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Not of Their Own Making (dancing girl press) and Shift (Plan B Press) and serves as the Book Reviews Editor at The Los Angeles Review. A PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Kansas, she lives in Lawrence.