Jynne Dilling Martin

Protective Measures Will Prevent Costly Disasters

I blackened the loops of each word in the letters
you posted every month, trying in vain to find traces of fraud.

That was discouraging. The doctors politely masked their laughter
but it would be madness to suppose they were innocents in the plot.

The animals act as if they sleep at night but the wolf yard is not secure.
Next door hens collapse in fits of nerves, dander thickening the air.

Tigers pace beneath trellised steel, over which decorative vines
are trained: subduing defiance is the role of ornamental shrubbery.

Or is it to obscure danger? The dinner gong smothers
shots in the basement, metal forks pulsing as we eat our peas.

The risks of a sudden move are revealed by its fruits. The significance
of fruits is signalled by their colorful skins: what else is an apple

if not a terrible warning? I draw deep on my sense of mistrust.
I’ve warned you not to wait for the hunter before hiding

and I’ve alluded to the inadequacy of the antelope house
a dozen times in previous missives. You make me spell things out.