In a line of Natalies, I am to keep us close.
Insofar as I possess the wealthiest resources.
Insofar as I am and will remain my elder.
To my pretty fourth grader, listen: Continue
to wear denim shorts, hum My Favorite Things,
and tell them what happened. Remember
you are using your hand as a model to draw a hand,
that your eyes are beyond the stick figure model.
You have worked busily to develop the body
on the page. What I mean is, you should not believe
you failed my leadership despite what he made of you.
You play chopsticks and a nonsense song, let the cat
sphinx his limbs around your neck to better smell his
collar fur. There is beauty between the feathers
of a bird. It is in the word apteria, warm lye searing
skin into a fixed plane. Do not trust the bad, as you
do not trust the good. When an older neighbor
lifts you to his shoulders and leads your lost yelps
out of the woods, do not use this as a reason
to stay quiet. It is the gentle way in which one
can pluck an apple from a bough and take a bite.
You would not pity the lips pricked by pectin.
What do you think forever means now—I’ll tell you.
Forever moves with the question of what happened.
It has no respect for the answer.
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