Expelling All Risk

Do not eat fruit until it is washed
until you’ve run it under the designated faucet
and the water comes down
ringing against the sink like silver coins
expelling all risk

Do not laugh in the street
the rupture will make your bra snap
and out you’ll pour—
when it’s done
we will blame you
because there will be no one else

Do not have sex with a black man
our nation would fall
and we’d all sit solemn
lips against prayer beads
waiting for the bed springs to stop groaning
and mark the hour of our extinction

Do not go to London
it will kill you within a fortnight
if not knifed on your first train ride
then pissed by your first night
in hysterics at the priest’s joke
who is now cleansing the inside of your mouth with his tongue
rotating like a microwave
TV dinner
cling film in technicolor

and, I beg you
for everyone’s sake

Do not stray
from the picnic table
your uncles will have to spread out to look for you
and your mother will stagger
confounded
calling the name we once gave you
the name you once used to answer.

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