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This is a Test of the Internal Emergency Broadcast System

On her way home from school

your little girl wants spotted mice

from the pet store.

She wants to give them a bath

without losing them in the suds

but they escape their paper bag

and disappear underfoot in the car.

Now your little girl wants

a bright green snake

that won’t get lost in the snow.

The red-tipped posts lining

the drive look wounded.

This is not an emergency.

This is winter saying, I decapitated

your small glass bird.

Hungry deer step from the woods

on velvet-gloved legs.

This is a test.

Place your elevated heart

rate in this prepaid, self-addressed,

steel envelope.

We should all be prepared

to proceed calmly

through the crackling air.

from Little StrangerFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Lisa Olstein
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Lisa Olstein Poems

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