On Ninjas

They eat four-cheese pizzas with three of the cheeses removed.
 They make friendship bracelets out of aluminium foil and poison.
 They open windows just by thinking about opening windows.
 They take ballet lessons to improve the speed of their circular arm movements.
 
 The ninjas are coming, coming to save us from muggers
 And disorganised thieves and slobs who want to kill us.
 The way to spot a ninja is to look for someone wearing black pyjamas—
Preternaturally neat black pyjamas—with a hood for cover.
 
 The way to tell one ninja from another is by the ankles.
 The way to tell one ninja from another is you can’t.
 They know how to levitate by thinking about birds’ feet.
 They make terrible cater waiters because no-one can hear them coming.
 
 Their mission is to save us from chaos with their acute tumbling skills
 And their climbing proficiency. They don’t want to dismember
 Bad jazz musicians or art teachers or con men, but they will.
 They know how to escape from a trap by running in place very, very fast.
 
 They can change places with each other by thinking about numbers.
 They turn themselves into fog to get out of attending boring parties.
 They make single-serving Lancashire hotpots to show their culinary mastery.
 They take turns doing the laundry.  (It’s easy:  no whites or colours.)
 
 The ninjas are here to help us. They are as ruthless as history
 Or defenestration. They are pitiless as a swarm of bees, or evolution.
 They know how to throw fireballs and do their own taxes.
 They hate litter and small children. They are here to fix us.


'On Ninjas' from The Ninjas (Carcanet, 2012), © Jane Yeh 2012, used by permission of the author and Carcanet Press.

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