—for my sister

1. Inside

Don't lean on the white walls
           They are epidermis
Don't stare at the guard
           He will smell your thoughts
Never leave your fingers in pockets
           They will be seen as closing
Under no circumstance tempt the chair
           Leashed to its table
Don't think the shadows breaking through
           The window bars are our black wings
Don't think we can go home now
           Flags are clapping
Don't think
Never recall the smell of steaming beets bleeding
           Dipping the bruised kernels of corn in salt water
Don't confuse a pin with a pen
           You don't know what the spell is
Don't say let's play Jumpsies and Alak Dolak
           There are ropes and sticks
Don't call for your father
           Never give up the names
Don't memorize the Qur'an
           You may need something to read
At no time imagine you'll get used to it
           Before is also ahead, in front of
Stop adding with a flashlight
           Ten fingernails, ten toes, twenty-eight teeth
           Under the blanket
Stop counting
           "The bed is where we all return"
           "The bed is where we always return"

2. Outside

Don't trust the white
           Cherry blossoms can't recall the winter
By no means assume
           Since there is a phone someone knows your number
Stop repeating "If I had locked the doors and windows"
           "If we had left the country"
           "If I had prayed"
           "If a storm had closed the schools"
Under no circumstance incite the lips sheltering the tongue
           Serve them tea and sweets
           Say she is gone to study abroad
Stop following the questions
           They leave trails
At no time write
Don't look for her among the adjectives in the dictionary
           Leave her books alone
Don't ask for a decision
           They'll deliver a sentence
Don't look for a wall calendar
           It's always today, yesterday, and tomorrow
Don't yield to the sentence
           Verbs aren't responsible for the subject
Don't destroy her evidence in the wardrobe
           It might be all you'll have
Never say no or yes
           You don't know the questions
At no time seal the windows
           Let the memories leave the living room
Don't whisper
           Everybody knows