Provoke No Dragons
“Provoke no dragons when the moon
floats fat above the redwood tree,”
I tell you, “or if you hear a loon
complaining to the stars of death
or taxes Congress levies on tea,
keep still. Polish no tiger teeth;
don't let the lions come indoors.
Don't tease the purple apes or play
with adders when you take your bath,
and don't feed stranger manticores
raw peanuts when I must be away.
I want you safe when I come home.”
You nod compliantly. That same day
I leave, you buy a leopard to tame.