The Encounter by Anne Barngrover



Late in the day, late into spring, the sky a lilac gauze
over the last flowering trees—their petals curled
as if singed, the new green pushing beyond—
I turned on the path and, for a moment, could not discern
what I’d just come upon: three surprised faces, a trio
of baby possums latched to their mother’s back, her head
down, drinking from a rain puddle, then at once keen
and lifted, teeth bared, emitting a low snarl. Wide-eyed,
their ears like button mushrooms, they were nearly
too big to all fit, the third one trailing, barely hanging
on. Frogs sang from their pond. I was not fearful,
though she growled at me as I passed by, brazen
creature who refused to shrink back into the thrum
of new evening, into the wild from where she’d come.



Anne Barngrover’s poems have appeared in such journals as Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Meridian, and others. Her first book, Yell Hound Blues, was recently published by Shipwreckt Books, and her chapbook, Candy in Our Brains, co-written with Avni Vyas, is forthcoming with CutBank in the spring.