Fundamentals of Home Defense

by Elizabeth Onusko

When you hear an intruder,
panic. Adrenaline heightens acuity.
Repeat the following mantra:
There’s no way out but through.
Stuff towels under your comforter
to create the illusion of a sleeping body,
then wait behind the door,
clutching a frying pan. Hide
in the basement. Escape
to the back yard. Dig a trench
and lie in it to determine if you have
a death wish. You don’t.
Scream when the walls collapse.
A fire truck arrives,
but you refuse to be rescued.
Change your mind on one condition:
you drive. Speed away.
Circle back, insisting you smell smoke.
Just like that a fire rises,
its grave radiance
primed for maximum tragedy.
Ready the hoses, unleash their fury.
Out of the window
drops a rope of sheets
and down shimmies the intruder.
Punch him, then embrace him.
Pluck your wallet from his pocket.