This is a Test
For the next sixty seconds, this station will conduct a test of the EmergencyBroadcast System. This is only a test.
It is always childhood
in the middle of the night.Frowning men dress in brown costumes, sepia clowns
who live in a dog house built by giraffes.They demand to see your papers.
Demand means ask.Large laughing ladies laden with accents
and bubbling baubles loom like balloonsand play cards all afternoon, smoking
and speaking in code. Their eyes shine like stonesin a brook and their heads are spun-sugar
and sizzle and snap like a fire in a hearth.Their mouths cough forests and mothballs.
Their gold lamé teeth twinkle like stars.But their eyebrows are frightened.
They have nowhere to bend from.They lean in, like cannons,
Who have we here? How old are you now?Even in your own bed the questions
never fail to catch you off guard.You are still worrying the answers
thirty years after nothing ever happened.Outside, the trees are creaking like doors.
In the distance, an elephant brays.You know it is only a train
and you live in the city.It is only a train.
The doors are like trees.
Copyright © 2019 by Liane Strauss
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
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