Advice for Former Selves by Kate Baer

Burn your speeches, your instructions
your prophecies too. In the morning when
you wake: stretch. Do not complain. Do not
set sail on someone else’s becoming, their voice
in your throat. Do not look down your nose
at a dinner party, laughing: If only they didn’t
have so many children.

Revision is necessary. The compulsory bloom.
When you emerge with crystals in one hand,
revenge in the other, remember the humble
barn swallow who returns in spring. If not
for her markings, another bird entirely.

By Kate Baer
What Kind of Woman. New York, Harper Perennial, 2020.

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