You could have a big dipper   

What To Do When You Are Lost in the Wilderness by Jimmy Pappas




Stay put. Do not move.

Your arms become jungle

vines. Latch them on to

the branches and swing

from the trees, or your

legs will root to the ground.


Find a safe place to hide. Caves

are the best, especially the ones

with large boulders to roll over

the entrance. Throw the bones

of your past outside for the mice

to eat. They will have a feast.


Wear a large green monocle

over your one eye to protect

it from the harmful rays of the sun.


Let your hair grow long

and wild until people start

to forget you are lost

and stop looking for you.

Just when everyone appears

to have given up, start a large

fire. Throw green wood on it

so the smoke rises to the sky.

Now, here is the important

part. Attention will now be paid

to you. One man will have entered

the far side of the cave. He will

be burning the sharp point of a long,

thin tree trunk to ram into your eye.

Show him you are blind already.


The shadows on the cave wall

are now in stereophonic 3D.

Raise your hand and touch

the hologram of the vase.

See. None of it is real.


The echoes from the cave wall

are now in Dolby Surround

Sound. Put on your headset.


It may be time to use

a map. Just remember

all paths lead back

into the wilderness.


Carry a cellphone.

Alert your Facebook

friends. They will

get back to you.


Keep in mind why you

went into the wilderness

in the first place.

Tell the rescuers

to find their own caves.



Jimmy Pappas won the 2017 Readers Choice Award at Rattle. His book Scream Wounds contains poems based on veterans' stories. He won the 2019 Rattle chapbook contest for Falling off the Empire State Building. His interview with editor Tim Green is on Rattlecast #34. His poem "The Gray Man" has been nominated for a Pushcart prize.

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