Today's poem is by Erika Meitner

Instructions for Vigilant Girls

Be the sleeping sister who sees no one.
Stay stuck in. Later, hand over

a list of suspects: the handyman,
the bachelor neighbor, the uncle

who was never really your uncle.
When there are conversations,

take notes in your secret diary:
            She said she saw him look at things.

Wear the key in your hair. No one
will search there. Speak on behalf

of the soon-to-be-missing, but if they play
in the woods near your home, do not

trail them to an encounter with the man
in the conversion van who gently insists

you hunt for his puppy and means you
no harm through his pleated pockets filled

with stars and balloons, real pieces
of the moon. Resist. Try not to lick anything.

Bring your gum eraser and be invisible
as a grackle to the well-trained watcher

who follows your movements
but never reports them until

you are found veiled in a strip mall basement,
throat unfurling with threats and questions.

Copyright © 2011 Erika Meitner All rights reserved
from Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls
Anhinga Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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