This is a Wonderful Poem
Come at it carefully, don't trust it, that isn't its right name, It's wearing stolen rags, it's never been washed, its breath Would look moss-green if it were really breathing, It won't get out of the way, it stares at you Out of eyes burnt gray as the sidewalk, Its skin is overcast with colorless dirt, It has no distinguishing marks, no I.D. cards, It wants something of yours but hasn't decided Whether to ask for it or just take it, There are no policemen, no friendly neighbors, No peacekeeping busybodies to yell for, only this Thing standing between you and the place you were headed, You have about thirty seconds to get past it, around it, Or simply to back away and try to forget it, It won't take no for an answer: try hitting it first And you'll learn what's trembling in its torn pocket. Now, what do you want to do about it?
From Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems by David Wagoner. Copyright © 1999 by David Wagoner. Used with permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press. All rights reserved.