“Instructions” by Dave Nielsen

When you pass someone famous on the sidewalk
don’t turn your head and cough. 
When you pass a fancy car parked on the street
don’t rub your finger along its hood.
When you walk past a hospital
don’t try to peak through the windows
of the sick rooms.
When you’re on the sidewalk and it begins to rain
don’t look up.
When you see lightning
don’t check your shoes to see how thick your soles are.
They’re not thick enough!
When you hear a voice from heaven calling your name
don’t answer. When you see someone
walk face-first into a streetlamp
don’t laugh.

Dave Nielsen is the author of Unfinished Figures (Lynx House Press, 2016). He studied creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. HIs poems have appeared in The Southern ReviewPoetry EastFolio, and other magazines. During the day, he works as a UX writer and editor. 

Image: “Cafe Coffee” by Jonathan Silverman

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