You could sit on your chair and pick over the language
as if it were a bowl of peas.
A lot of people do that.
It might be instructive.
You don't even need the chair,
you could juggle plates of air.
You could poke sticks through the chain-link fence
at your brain, which you keep locked up in there,
which crouches and sulks like an old tortoise,
and glares out at you, sluggish and eyeless.
You could tease it that way,
make it blunder and think,
and emit a croaking sound
you could call truth.
A harmless activity,
sort of like knitting,
until you go too far with it
and they bring out the nooses and matches.
Or you could do something else.
Something more sociable.
A lot of people do that too.
They like the crowds and the screaming,
they like the adrenalin.
Hunker down. Get a blackout curtain.
Pretend you're not home.
Pretend you're deaf and dumb.
Look: pitchforks and torches!
Judging from old pictures,
things could get worse.
- Margaret Atwood