"How to Become a Member" by Geoff Bouvier

You may have been born to one of us, but if not, not to worry.
You might approach us dancing, or naked. Or lie down in our
busiest areas and refuse to move. If you boycott revered gatherings,
begin small congregations of your own. Or presume to belong here
quietly, copying patterns of movement and speech.
Regardless of how you enter the community, a most significant
condition is our reaction.
We must not be wrested from daily routines. We mustn’t feel
forced to account for your gestures with anything more than a
single, prolonged syllable. If we feel like it. For example, “Hmm.”


—"How to Become a Member " from Living Room by Geoff Bouvier. Copyright © 2005 by Goeff Bouvier. Used by permission of American Poetry Review.