Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge!

Emergency Plan

First we decided where to meet.
The fire was coming and I knew

what we should do: flashlights,
water, condoms, and a shot

of our imaginary son. Only, what we used to call our
peeping birds startled me into starting days

long before the city bus commenced its run.
That's when I knew we hadn't done enough

in case the sky fell while I was driving,
and I packed a pair of panties, matches,

some aspirin in the trunk. After we stopped
making breakfast plans (the pecking

woke me early and by breakfast
I was always eating lunch), I secreted

in my office that little blue box:
trail mix, shekels, and seed to plant

after the revolution was over
and done. I made sure we remembered

where we planned to meet, taught us
to swim in case we came near water

when it decided to flood. But those damned birds
with their nesting scattered on the patio

were eventually the most reliable alarm
and, only to level the threat, I fashioned a carry-all

from the pillowcase I no longer slept on.
I filled it: tinned meat and crackers, chocolate,

a little musk so I can recall
how we smelled before this end was begun.

Written by Camille Dungy


Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge