I know better
than to open my door to a stranger,
especially one like you—
a solicitor dumped at the stop sign on the corner
like a box of unwanted puppies,
left in the exhaust of the white van
you hope will return in six hours.
I definitely know better
than to let myself be fooled
by your practiced enthusiasm,
and the way you know all my neighbors so much better than I do
even though I’ve lived here for years.
I should know better
than to open my checkbook
to The Universal Stars of Global Victory & Success,
selling dreams in the form of magazine subscriptions
for double the cover price, plus tax.
But I was tired, or caught off guard, or maybe a little lonely,
and you charmed me with your dazzling smile,
and the story of how you named your daughter,
and the way you kept insisting I must be cooking something good,
even though I told you it was only a candle burning.
After you left, I carried my gullibility heavy in my stomach
like an entire log of cookie dough eaten, alone, at midnight,
so I searched the internet for reassurance—
a reputable website, a friendly Facebook page, a five-star rating on Yelp.
Instead I found your mug shot
and a blogger warning me of scams.
Usually I try to put my mistakes behind me,
but every time that Atlantic Monthly arrives in the mail
I am reminded of my moment of weakness
and find myself hoping the part about your little girl
Carie Juettner taught 7th grade English for thirteen years before leaving education to pursue her career as a writer. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and five pets in a house that is never truly clean. Her poetry has appeared in the Texas Poetry Calendar (2009, 2012, and 2013 editions) as well as in AIPF’s di-verse-city 2011. Carie enjoys caffeinated things, chocolate things, and things that smell like rain. She is currently working on a villanelle and a horror novel.