Alina Stefanescu playing possum after Bayard Rustin This is my mother newly dead, Mom says. She died without su√ering. I fondle the photo of my maternal grandmother playing possum. A dead possum in a ditch is called roadkill. A possum who’s just playing is not a carcass. The women in my family will play anything to make you wonder. I am one of those women who ﬁnds herself playing. Just to see what you’d say about me then. The woman in the photo is my namesake. The photo is black and white, taken and developed by my grandfather. He was a gangly husband, a polymath, her fellow physician. They married in med school. Stars of the show, those two. It was my tall reticent grandfather who administered the ﬁnal morphine injection when the cancer took over her brain—when she was no longer the person she might recognize. He did this in secret without consulting the family. He did it in the living room of the remote Transylvanian chalet he designed and built by hand. Her green and white wooden dream house, a retreat for their retirement. He did it because she wanted to remain herself. She made him promise.
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Dec 21, 2019