Don’t

Look both ways when crossing a street.

In fact, don’t cross streets at all

unless I’m with you.

Don’t approach wild animals.

They could be rabid.

Don’t pick up bugs or snakes.

Despite the temptation,

don’t chase butterflies.

They could lead you to bees and wasps.

Step carefully on polished floors and in tubs.

Grip the handrail when descending stairs.

Don’t talk to strangers.

Don’t even go near them.

And remember,

just because a man is old

that doesn’t make him your grandfather.

 

Don’t go near swimming pools

if there’s no adults around.

In fact, only if that adult is me.

Sure, that sparkling coolness looks tempting

but so does someone in a car.

Don’t play around electric sockets.

and touch stove plates

to see how hot they are.

 

In general, just take care.

And don’t just drink any liquid.

Or bite on anything that could be food.

Or spend hours watching television.

Just because it feels good,

doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

And don’t go near cliff edges.

Or lean out of windows.

Or unbuckle your seat belt

when we’re driving somewhere.

 

I know it must sound as if

life is no more than a series of cautions.

But keep in mind

I love you very much.

Please, don’t take that as a warning.

 

By John Grey

 

 

2018 Winners' Anthology Available on Amazon

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