Stick things in your ears.
Close your eyes and refuse
to open them for anyone, even if they are trying
to show you something beautiful – a watercolor
pigment still wet and earthy,
a bird skimming the silver grass of a field.
Close your mouth.
Change hovers just behind the teeth
ready to leap out.
Hold onto things tightly.
Any large, immobile object will do –
washers or dryers, monkey bars, cars and trucks,
porch railings, large boulders.
Don’t hang onto people.
People are always disappearing
worse than ghosts.
They can’t even be counted on
to haunt you.
Don’t use electricity.
You might see the world for a minute.
This morning the sky was pure gold
with one orange streak. Tonight
it is deep blue with thin pink threads.
Don’t move across the country.
Stay in the same town you grew up in
or pick the town you lived in the longest
and move back there.
You don’t need to be happy,
you will be safe.
You will recognize everything
with a sharp, defeated familiarity.
Imagine you are a potted plant,
a geranium or pansy,
a wreath made of dry twigs.
Imagine you are an immaculate stainless steel surface
the smooth, satisfied face of the refrigerator,
the placid curve of a mixing bowl.
Imagine you are a fresh white envelope, never sent.