We stockpile rations. (What are rations.) Important items that will help us survive: Q-tips, sticks of butter, bottled water. Iodine tablets, smokable hemp rope, wooden alphabet blocks, lube. Small blankets sewn by grammas. Roast chicken. Paper bags. Underwear. The usual.
We make last calls on tin cans that stretch as far as we need them: Calls to Seattle to say that I will miss seeing all the children grow up, calls to LA to say the same. Calls to New York to say can’t make the birthday bash because: anarchy, haha but love you, love you all and miss you and I wonder sometimes if I am sorry that I moved back home because I missed so much out there but at least we had the internet then. Calls to Lincoln to say that I wish I visited more, and not just because of my previous obsession with Bright Eyes.
We go to Courthouses and Important Buildings to picket with signs like: Please Go To Work, Public Officials! Bless You, Government Kidnappers! Why Is There No More Peanut Butter? I Never Thought I’d Say This, But I Think I Miss a Police Presence! Help Us. I Have a Sign and I Will Hold It! Find the Obamas, You Lazy Fucks! Hip Hip Hooray! (We don’t have a cohesive platform.)
We try to lock teachers in the schools with our children so they can keep learning until the schools are closed. We wear white, cotton gloves when touching anything so that we can make it last a little longer. We show pictures of senators to packs of dogs and send them off with treats tied around their necks and our addresses and pleas for help in baggies to give to the senators when the dogs find them. (We ate our pigeons.) We dig under City Halls to look for Mayors. No one runs in emergency elections. Some of us raid police stations to make copies of our fingerprints; others cut off each fingerpad with hunting knives. Some prisons are opened; some prisons waft terrible stenches and are given a wide berth.
Words are fading from dictionaries. We hear stories of one woman in Butte, or maybe it’s Altoona, but this one woman did run for office and she’s starting over and her town is thriving and they even have gardens. We whisper these stories into the ears of our cats and our formerly illegal pet ferrets and ask them to find this mystical town, whatever it is, and when they do, to please ask for directions. And to please, please send them back to us.
We think we have forgotten how to save ourselves.
Elizabeth Horner Turner’s poems have been published in magazines such as Burnside Review, Caketrain, Cutbank, Fairy Tale Review, Gulf Coast, and H_NGM_N, among others. She's been awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and was selected as a Poetry Scholar for the Tin House Writer’s Workshop. Her chapbook, The Tales of Flaxie Char, was published through dancing girl press. She lives in San Francisco. She tweets [sometimes]: @lhornert