How Not To
Jeanne Murray Walker

The list of Do-Nots is a national best seller,
long as the Canadian border. 1) Don’t name
all your children the same thing—like Ellery—
regardless of how easy it might seem.
2) Don’t rub horseradish on the cat. 3) Do not
dis your sister, 4) kiss the priest, 5) pierce
your tongue 6) curse the light or 7) forget
how your mother’s coffin shone as they lowered it.

Don’t keep expecting scarlet shouts of joy
from the geraniums as summer turns
to fall. Don’t scan the moon to find the boy
who vowed he’d love forever. There’s not time,
given the slant of light, to know all ferns.
Some sonnets fail to give a final rhyme.



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