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could fry an egg on the cement it’s so caliente

the little girl’s mind is disobedient. she likes to skip down the city cement, out of shouting range. she likes to read old books, playing deaf outside older windows. she likes to peek through fences, playing with backyard boys she isn’t meant to know. she likes to pretend she goes out, goes somewhere difficult. she likes to pretend she’s allowed to be anywhere but here. she begs for an above ground pool, but no one is ever allowed in it. she begs for some sunglasses to lie down in the driveway, but the cement is so hot and the yellow jackets so large, she’s sure a form of death will take her before reaching tan. the little girl is always so obedient. she watches television in the front porch praying for one day a safe escape. her mother tells her girls get kidnapped, raped by multitudes of boys. there are bad men at the streetlamps; the men her mom brings home are fine. the swings will soar you over used needles. the balls you kick will roll beneath deathtrap vans. the babysitters aren’t to be trusted. her great-grandfather is not to be trusted now either. if anything is loose, you could be poisoned. if anything is quiet, it could be a trap. if anything is exciting, it can’t be honest. if you head onto hot streets, your heels will flame up on your path to hell. there shall never be a summer dusk before you’re back.

CAUTION:

do not wake while sleeping

do not knock when bach’s mass in b minor is on[1]

 

do not wash dishes while shower is running[2]

do not ask questions audibly while there is reading to be done[3]

 

do not say ‘right,’ ‘calm down,’ ‘relax, or ‘chill’

at your own risk: ‘hurry up,’ ‘come on,’ or ‘you’ll be late’

 

ask neither ‘are you ready?’ nor ‘how much longer do you think...?’[4]

do not allow the yolk to cook[5]

 

do not approach in media res[6]

i repeat, do not approach in media res

 

do not empty coffee carafe into her mug[7]

do not save it for yourself[8]

 

do not leave her towels heaped, a sponge submerged, or damp refuse

do not watch her take any care while imparting knowledge to the task

 

do not mismatch the power cords from adapters and their sockets

do not allow duvet cover to crumple, revealing the loathed beige sofa beneath

 

do not double lock her door

do not inquire as to her innumerable alarms

 

do not bring balcony slippers into the house

smoke outside, but do not leave the screen ajar

 

no crumbs on the floor

no unsolicited contact during sleep

no long kisses without tongue

don’t dare tilt her macbook screen

 

now go, enjoy[9]

and as always, operate with care

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] if you don’t know what to listen for, just never knock at all

[2] you think you’re helping to tidy up, yet you’ll end up dying young

[3] a DM will not distract her all that much; expect a prompt response

[4] if any of the aforementioned pragmatics came as a shock, please place down this poem; out the way you came

[5] if it doesn’t run, you should

[6] from liquid eyeliner application to cutting produce, this is ill advised within pre-lunch domestic sphere

[7] detestable dregs!

[8] takes one to want some

[9] bring wine