Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Survival Guide

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.

Credit


From The Future Is Trying to Tell Us Something: New and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Joy Ladin. Used with the permission of the author.

Author


Joy Ladin

Joy Ladin is the author of Impersonation (Sheep Meadow Press, 2015).

Date Published: 2018-02-22

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/survival-guide