Third Grade

These are the rules
for young girls:

Sit       stare       drop
(don't talk) your eyes
under the table, worn
carpet and the silent legs
of chairs. Make friends
with irony, odor and light.
Invisible things listen well,
revealing fine oddities at
birthday parties and funerals.

Learn to mix paint
from spit and berries, write
your name on the sidewalk
six times with a cigarette butt.
Count insects, dandelions,
years of silence, count bottle tops,
apple seeds keep them
in your dresser drawer

with panties and soap. Practice
breathing rhythm begins in the blood.
Acquaint yourself with death's low
whistle, know it better than the rules
of Chinese jump rope. Tomorrow
the sky will crack like a tray
of ice cubes and the clouds
shudder glory, glory.

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