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POETRY I BY LEE ROBINSON A CITIZEN’S RESPONSE TO THE PAMPHLET DISTRIBUTED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Bottled water, if we must, but better the good champagne that has sat undrunk too long on the wine rack. From the pantry, canned tomato soup and hearts of artichoke, both palatable when cold, and from the soon-to-be powerless refrigerator, some leftover morsels of brie and salami, both past their expiration dates for safe consumption A flashlight? Instead let’s have candles for this feast. No radio, but batteries for the boom box and a few CD’s Bach preludes, the Goldberg Variations, Yellow Submarine. Never mind the duct tape and the plastic. We’ll open the windows or picnic under the stars, taking deep breaths, taking in the smell of the prairie, listening to the armadillo rooting for ants, and if we survive until morning, the raucous boast of the kingfisher rising from the creek. 1-800-RU-n-PAIN Thank you for calling! You’re no longer alone! We’re here to feel your pain and make you whole again. Press 1 if you ache in the small of your back. Press 2 if your head hurts when you think. For all other bodily parts in pain press 3. For existential angst, malaise and anomie, press 4. For religious doubt press 5, and 6 for fear of dying. Choose 7 if your spouse has left you, 8 if your children hate you. If your pain defies description, press 9. Thank you for sharing your pain! Remember, we will make you whole again. No fee until recovery! And if we decide the law won’t right your wrong we’ll help you find the perfect match from our nationwide panel of experienced and caring therapists. We accept all major credit cards! Thank you for calling 1-800-RUn-PAIN! Tell a friend! And if you enroll in the month of October we have a special offer! A prime-time interview and a published memoir for the winning sufferer! LEE ROBINSON’S first poetry collection, Hearsay, won the 2003-2004 Poets Out Loud Prize from Fordham University Press and the Writers’ League of Texas Violet Crown Award. She lives in Comfort, Texas. Naomi Shihab Nye NOVEMBER 3, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23