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,
We should all be prepared
to proceed calmly
through the crackling air.
Copyright © 2013 Lisa Olstein
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.