Advice from the Lights

By Stephanie Burt

If you don't get too close to people you can't disappoint them,
which would be so much worse
than letting them disappoint you.

To the extent that you gain
a perch that means other people look up to you,
to just that extent you can never
tell them how you feel.

You can warble, or
follow a siren, or a Shenandoah
vireo, into the shade, or take
advice from the lights: be
a child, or be like a child.
You will want for nothing, and you will never be heard.


Stephanie Burt, “Advice from the Lights” from Advice from the Lights. Copyright © 2017 by Stephanie Burt, originally published as Stephen Burt. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, All rights reserved.