If I were Mother Verbivore, each day
before my children left the cave, I’d check
their fingernails for cleanliness and pay
a token glance behind their ears and neck.
And then I’d send my precious wordlings out
to represent the clan, paired two-by-two,
all starched and pressed and polished. (Sister Shout
in Whisper’s hand-me-downs would never do.)
I’d ration them accordingly, by size
and personality, their daily packs
of pointed punctuational supplies
plus one cliché to carry on their backs.
But only when they’re safely home at dark
would I release an exclamation mark.
2000 Mary Boren