Advice to a Six-Year-Old

Do not worry what people think.
Keep checking beneath the bed.

Either you will spot a monster,
or you will not.

If you don’t spot a monster,
go to sleep.

If you do spot a monster,
either it will be friendly,
or it will not.

If it is friendly, stay up late.
Swap monster-jokes and human-jokes.
When your parents are asleep,
go down to the kitchen
and offer it green things to eat:
broccoli, lettuce, frozen peas,
the soap, the begonias.

If it is not friendly, scream.
Either you will scare it away,
or your parents will come in time,
or, regrettably, the monster will eat you,
but that would have happened anyhow
once you were asleep.

—Mary Soon Lee