Robert’s Dairy
Omaha, Nebraska
Misuse Punishable by Law

What’s the deal here?
An old, red plastic crate
announces it will not be misused
or the misuser shall go straight to
Maybe pay a fine, I think.
What is misuse of a red, plastic crate?
Does jurisprudence have
an opinion on red plastic crates?
What is the crate canon?
Let us apply reason:
the crate was meant only for milk
and other use constitutes misuse.
Now I’m worried and confused—
what about cream and cottage cheese?
My God, what about yogurt?
Does feta step over the line?
I strongly suspect
my scribbled poems
and ideas smudged on the backs of napkins
are violations.
That sets me to worrying
about the crate police.
Will they knock on my door
in the middle of the night armed with a warrant?
Do they have a right to search?
What constitutes probable cause?
I suspect being a poet
is cause enough.
But surely this is paranoia
and what counts
is that I have always been
kind to the crate
although once I made it carry a cactus.
……….Nan Lundeen
The poet is grateful to SCWW’s Horizons 2002 where “Crate” was named best of issue for poetry.


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