Blue hills

Advice by Nancy Schatz Alton

“In fact it takes a long time to realize/ your suffering is of very little consequence/ to anyone but you.” –Melissa Stein, from “Seven Minutes in Heaven.”

When the suffering comes the entire house sleeps

Or it feels like that

But the noises tell you otherwise

The rain drips from the gutter

The fridge cycles on and off

Your daughter turns over

Maybe she wakes for two seconds.

Still, the dark is your only company

And she doesn’t make tea

She is silent

Remember how the teens told you

The speaker advised them not to give advice

When friends complain?

How ridiculous, said your teens,

We want advice!

They aren’t 47.

At 16, there’s an answer that sounds right

Existentialism is different at every age

And suffering has consequences:

Some people will leave you when you are ugly

Some people won’t.

Some will say as they drive you to get you finger stitched up

Why don’t you go ahead and cry?

This is a consequence of love

Both the leaving and the staying

You get to grieve the leaving

Send pictures of the stitches.

Your amazement at how the body heals

Worthy of amazement.

Life’s grand pageant: shared.


1 thought on “Advice

  1. There are two lines in here that are fantastic.

    “Existentialism is different at every age”


    “This is a consequence of love”

    So much of parenting is wrapped up in those two lines. They really speak to the heart of the matter, so many layers of meaning there to be unwrapped.

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