This is what you need to know.
When your printer runs out of paper
and you put more in,
what button do you push
to tell the printer to try again?
What does your partner really believe
When it comes down to it,
will he spank your children?
Will he understand post-partum depression
after a hard day’s work?
What’s a good food to make
with the cast-off ingredients given to you?
Zucchini bread and zucchini cake
could be helpful.
What’s the phone number
for the police
and the nearest hospital?
What color of clothing
makes you feel most comfortable?
How do you take care of an orchid?
Just a regular orchid.
How do you tell someone
convincingly that you need more time
before you’re certain of something?
Without it sounding like no, basically.
When should you do the things
you’ve been avoiding?
Should you do them at all, really?
Say, the things you’ve been meaning to say
to the neglected parishioners.
Where’s the circuit breaker,
the manual can opener,
and the gas switch
are three good questions for an emergency
like an earthquake,
but not an emergency like someone
dying before you were ready.
Where’s the right counselor?
Where’s the flower shop
and funeral shoes?
Will the salesperson push you down?
Does prayer help?
And why, if so?
Will you forgive me if I suggest
it’s the power of positive thinking?
Why not look in the mirror
with a confused expression,
Will you offer yourself one yes
to crown the collection of no?
Will the light of God
give mercy to absolutely everyone?
I’m sorry it’s not possible to know.
I’ve faltered more than usual,
and the poem ends
with the usual apology.