Warning Signs

It starts (as it always does start)
with a solitary roamer.
Sometimes, it’s someone
you know: the town drunk, perhaps,
which creates knowing
chuckles at first and merits
no real cause for alarm.

Someone hollers at the roamer,
perhaps with jocular familiarity
(and again, this depends on whether
you recognize the roamer).
The roamer lurches and staggers
and as it gets closer you see that
it’s no one you know, or maybe
someone you know, only really
green around the gills, and this is
usually the point
at which
someone
mutters:

“Shit.”

I don’t really have to tell you
how it goes from there.

I will say that a hardware
store is your best bet
in terms of at least temporary
shelter, stocked as it is
with inflammatory substances
and sharp implements.

I will say that your odds
of survival are better if
you’re hysterical at the outset.
Don’t ask me why.

I will say that you can smell
them coming long before you’ll
see them, depending on where
you are, of course, and whether
it’s an open or closed primary.

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