In dangerous times, choosing what to save
becomes both chancier and more deliberate,
a ping-pong of panic vs. preservation.

A milk-splotched sketch. A bicycle bell.
What might be needed for getaways
and what would merely weigh us down
instead of attracting help? Glasses, knives,

a bin full of bulbs we meant to plant last fall—
we used to read about Nazis
as though they were fairy-tale villains—
too long ago and so far out of the pale
to fear with any seriousness, much less flee

but, now being too much of this world,
I parcel out the bulbs: half into the yard,
hoping to be alive in the spring, and allowed
to love the pointless, fruitless flowers,

and half into the pantry, next to the case of water
that’s there just in case. I don’t need the future
to laugh at myself already, for whom am I kidding?

This is a different century, with nowhere to hide

unless you’re so damn rich and white
that laws don’t apply, much less stick. But I
have houses and HQs to clean. Oh, abide

with me, O Thou of bitter herbs and floods
and silence amid sociopaths. Pray I shall
but also pack, and sing but also study,
and sift through what might save me if I store it,
but not set too much store in saving it, or myself.