a lesson on how to devastate properly (because my mother never taught me how)

Melissa Ballete

1. do not be an ember
warming the soul
only sparking fires
never having your own.

2. do not be the river
that bends around jungle trees to
let them grow.

3. do not succumb
to the suns and stars
determined to prove you
an Icarus.

4. do not be a wonder
composed of velvet,
white wine, honey,
fingers soft as
spider’s silk.

5. do not be a casualty of war.

6. be reckless and
high tide low tide
growling waves
ebb and flow
rise aglow
into a tempest.

7. when you exhale
the gales of winter,

8. in your glorious wake
they should bend
like reeds.

9. they should exalt you
like flowers do
the ascendant sun.

10. listen

11. do not be gentle.

12. there are
no light showers here.