The Ugliest Possum on Helen Street

This photo will horrify a lot of people. C’est La Vie. Photo by Thom Fletcher, taken through the back kitchen door window at Casa Russell-Fletcher.

That’s the back of my head. And yes, that is a possum. I can imagine all the shrieking that is happening as people look at this picture—all the possum haters! You are the majority. This is what happened the other night when I went out to feed our feral cat, Devi. (I’ll save her backstory for another post.) Before Devi could get to the food, this very young opossum scrambled over the edge of the porch, trucked over and literally ate her lunch. Honestly, it happened so quickly it shocked me, and I was afraid to move. I feel charitable towards possums—I didn’t grow up with them, so they are exotic to me, and I’ve always found them to be gentle little beasts—but I know most people find them repugnant. This little guy has been hanging around our yard for a month or so. It’s pretty wild out there, with raspberry bushes and a bird feeder that drops a lot of sunflower seeds, so the possums show up uninvited. I actually find possums to be kind of cute (again, not a popular opinion) but I’ll say as a possum admirer, this poor little guy is definitely on the homely side of the possum spectrum. He is scrawny, has a patchy coat, weird-looking spots on his tail, and exceptionally beady eyes (and all possums have beady eyes, so that is really saying something). He is just magnificently ugly. Maybe that’s why I felt kind of protective of him and didn’t shoo him away. Next time, I will. At the moment, everyone on Helen is traumatized and feeling like they need to seize the day. You can’t blame a possum for wanting to seize the day, right? Even Devi agreed, sitting there frozen on the porch just like me, watching the ugliest possum on Helen Street devour what was rightfully hers.

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