"Welcome," the basket's ribbon says, and I
Understand the stretch of the arms holding
It toward me. "Welcome, but stay at arm's length.
We know why you have come here. You have fooled
No one with your witness protection name."
"Welcome, you refugee from disaster unnamed,
Not like many hurricanes named female,
Not like many downstate divorces, named
Man's last name versus man's last name." "Welcome,
But stand back. You've not fooled anyone with
That chintz, those lawn chairs, those perennials
That die every fall. Your kind arrives here
With every hard closing on a house sale.
We know you have barely survived what chased
You here. We smell the gunpowder in the
Folds of your 'kiss the cook' apron." "Welcome.
We were once you but won't admit it, not
Even to ourselves in private." "Welcome,
But that past you brought with you onto the
Cul de sac, like the wolf-sized dogs or
Coal mine canaries the bylaws reject
In this gated community, you had
Better take it out, have it put to sleep."