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If You Wish to Be Removed from This List

You must be more careful. You must wash your hands up to your elbows and dry them with a linen towel. You must say please. You must swallow your lumpy medicine. You must draw a card and return it to the deck. You must deny deny deny. You must put it in writing. You must write your name on a cup and pee in it. You must read Moby Dick. You must read Moby Dick again. You must perform forty hours of public penance. You must eat your spinach and finish your milk. You must shave. You must do windows. You must name names. You must demonstrate your ability to parallel park. You must share. You must lock the door and leave the key under the mat. You must change diapers. You must sift the dry ingredients and fold them into the wet ingredients. You must learn to work around the pain. You must drop a sack of unmarked bills in the trash bin by the sweetgum tree. You must forget what you just saw. You must produce your passport when asked: now. You must slip into something more uncomfortable. You must revise. You must, for your own protection, put on the blindfold. You must reset your clock. You must let the dog lie at the foot of the bed. You must pay the piper and leave a generous tip; use exact change. You must burn the dark letters. You must bail some water. You must forgive your mother. You must march to the river’s edge. You must stop crying. You must give away your possessions to the poor. You must soak in bleach. You must pledge allegiance. You must summon the energy to clear the last hurdle. You must be very very brave. You must click your heels three times. Wish to be removed from this list, moved from this list, emptied of all words.

from Burning of the Three FiresFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Jeanne Marie Beaumont Poems

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