Eloise Klein Healy

Memo: Folk Art 101
To: Miss Moore
CC: Miss Swenson
Miss Bishop

Let me introduce you to Folk Art 101
half-way across the road
and not yet noticed by my dog.

Could it be that coming our way
is a hayrick made of pine
and overstuffed like a sock monkey
or could it be a “slo-mo” voodoo doll
followed by an unlit fuse of tail?

No, it is the Goddess of the Night,
Ms. Opossum on a ramble
from the Laundromat hedge
to the trailer park bramble.

Neural equipment all small “n,”
she’s sloped and shaped like a country wagon
rolling on four differently sized wheels
so she’s slow to reach the median
but her quick U-turn there
is based on a long history of danger at the center.

She is so ancient that when the tree fell
in the forest, she heard it
but did not hurry herself.
When Africa rammed Asia, she demurred
and turned to look at the sea level adjusting.

Behold your reaction, which until now was unschooled,
To the casual appraiser, she’s a handmade muffin,
but she’s pantheonic and mythic,
magical as Mardi Gras.

Her tail, you think a mangy snake, cools her down.
Unremarkable fur, but she’s cleaner than a cat.
Nostrils on the top of her nose,
she can breathe through a pile of leaves
and just about anything nourishes her and her brood.

She’s been on the main marquee
since the continents floated apart.
but nocturnal, and arboreal
you don’t see her clearly
until you think she’s dead.

She’s just lying there lying,
waiting for the hiatus
wherein you go to get a shovel
and she wends her way back to herself,
her little stroll out of your life.

© 2005 Electronic Poetry Review