Belling the Vampire
by Jerry Bradley

Forget the cat and upland buzzards you’ll see after nuclear war,
the low oaths you mutter into your tankard. They will not work.
What he wants is your milk-pink lemonade
and a mouthful of moonlight. If you don’t want to dance
in his deep-vein jamboree, buy yourself a glove
and an aluminum bat. Oh, sure, garlic is tasty and great
for enchiladas in molé, but one clove won’t be enough,
and chants and incantations work just about as well.
Get yourself a tiny brass bell. Call it self defense
and call this a letter from an unhinged friend,
but, when you hear its tinkle, it will sound like the siren
of something surprising approaching in a mach-one spurt,
astonishing and as startling as seeing a gar in the bathtub, a white guy
making change at the U-Totem, or the pope in a Hawaiian shirt.


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