Don't Panic

"don't panic"
says the guy on the news
screens around him show
six different views of the sky
tickers scroll by and scream
options of imminent death

the mother calls the school
tells them to get her kids
into the office
the clerk argues
"better to leave them here
we don't want the children
to panic"

the mother thinks of her
parents' stories of nuclear bomb drills
as if huddling beneath desks
would have done anything other
than hide their bodies
and baked shadows

"I'll be there in ten minutes,"
says the mother
she loads her gun
packs ammo
hauls the two cats to the basement
where cans load the shelves
the generator hums

she strides through the house again
"don't panic"
repeats the man on TV
panic in his voice