I beg you. Reconsider
and identify the difference.
Three together. Mitten shaped.
Small stem on the center leaf.
Pointed tips. Shiny. White berries.
Not the same as Virginia Creeper
and its cluster of five.
Do a little research. You’ll find
most are harmless. Don’t despise
every green vine gracing the path
because one or two
produce a nasty itch.
In a safety class,
my teenager was advised
to yell “fire” if attacked,
Wisdom presumably learned
from the stabbing death
of Kitty Genovese in 1964
and the neighbors who watched,
each waiting for the other to act.
“Fire threatens everyone,”
the teacher said, “People respond.”
This may or may not explain.
Why I, as a Jew, see “fire”
in the swastika on the sidewalk, while
the other parents at my daughter’s school
Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman's Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including The Sunlight Press, Gyroscope Review, and One Art. She is also the author of two poetry books for young readers, Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence. (Albert Whitman, 2020) and Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember (Bushel & Peck, 2023). Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com.