duality of mother

like a possum, she feigns death,
curled into a ball of clammy
skin and frothing at the mouth

unlike a possum, her fingers
still twitch, and she still cries
out in pain and confusion

like the dead, she seems unreal,
her face too white and serene, her 
body unharmed but her mind elsewhere

unlike the dead, she can still
reach for those little orange
pill bottles for more to pop

like my mother, she tells me it’s
okay, i don’t have to worry,
she’ll be just fine soon

unlike my mother, her words
are slurred, barely making
sense as she blacks in and out

possum, human
dead, living
mother, stranger

By Heather Drouse