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Elisabeth Sharp McKetta
Never Set a Pirate Upside-down

Never set a pirate upside-down.

His pantaloons will show his fish-white ankles,
and all of the gold pieces will spill
out of his pockets. He loses
his dignity and something
of his warrior mask, and his maltreated
employees might glimpse his soft apricot belly and leave,
causing you to follow suit.

No, pirates should remain as they present themselves to you.

Some underbellies should not be seen,
those of eighteen-wheel trucks, wretched
alongside the highway; of certain insects with legs
in the hundreds, wiggling in helpless circles,
blind and dreading a fatal heel or worse,
a hungry friend. So you see

I understand you. Stay hidden, and I will too,
and we will get to know one another.