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Survivial Guide by Joy Ladin

No matter how old you are,

it helps to be young

when you’re coming to life,

to be unfinished, a mysterious statement,

a journey from star to star,

so break out a box of crayolas

and draw your family

looking uncomfortably away

from the you you’ve exchanged

for the mannequin

they named. You should

help clean up, but you’re so busy being afraid

to love or not

you’re missing the fun of clothing yourself

in the embarrassment of life.

Frost your lids with midnight; lid your heart with frost; rub them all over,

the hormones that regulate

the production of love

from karmic garbage dumps. Turn yourself into

the real you

you can only discover

by being other.

Voila! You’re free,

learn to love the awkward silence you are going to be.


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