With Love, From the Future

March 2, 2012
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I would tell you
not to drink so much coffee
and to get more sleep instead.

I would tell you
to not get into the car that night,
to not go fishing in the first place.

I would say that it’s okay
when you let your mother down,
but never your dad.

I would tell you that
You would shine even brighter
if you had the same confidence in the school hallways
as you do on stage.

Stop wasting your wishes
every single night
at 11:11 on someone
you know could never love you back.

I would tell you
to let your sister into your room more often.

I would direct you
to the only people I know you trust,
and I would tell you it’s not weird
that they happen to be teachers.

I would tell you
that I’m proud of your achievements,
and I don’t blame you for your mistakes.

I would reassure you
that just because you’re related
to your relatives,
that doesn’t mean you have to turn out
anything like them.

I’d let you know
that your best friend won’t hate you after all
when you tell her your
most beloved

I would warn you in advance
that your band is going to break up,
but it’s for the best.
It’s better to have lost an opportunity
than a friend.

I would tell you
you look ridiculous when your shirt
comes down to your stomach,
and you shouldn’t even think of wearing
anything that low-cut.

I would tell you that you are a city girl.

I would tell you to listen to your mom
And put on sunscreen
when you go to Robert Moses,
or you will look like a tomato for a week.

You like to fall back on what you know,
so maybe you should consider a change of scenery.

I would speak to you in French,
and only in French
because I know how badly you want to be

For the love of God,
please learn to dance.
How can you be a princess
if you don’t know how to do
a simple waltz?

I would tell you who your real friends turn out to be,
so you won’t have to waste your time
with the drama.

You should practice the piano more.

I would tell you
that walking 20 blocks in the rain feels incredible,
especially when you’re going

I would tell you
that your friend’s boyfriend
is a lunatic while driving,
and you should prepare yourself for
when he hits 110 on the highway
at 12:00 in the morning.

I would tell you not to fall in love
with being in love.

I would tell you to focus in geometry,
and that doesn’t mean spending six hours
on the phone while staring at the sheet
and telling yourself you understand
how to do a rectangle proof.

I would tell you that
your favorite memories
take place by fire,
but that doesn’t mean you should play with it.

I would tell you that being a teenager is overrated.

I would tell you to eat something
Easter morning in 2006.
Maybe you won’t pass out in church.

I would tell you
That it’s not a good idea to flip your kayak over
in the middle of the Hudson river.

I would make sure you knew
that it was smart of you
to not burn your old journals.

I would tell you to not fight with your brother
over a glass of pennies.
You end up worse off than he does,
even though he’s the one that’s
in your dad’s office
with the wet paper towel taking the blood
from his hands.

I would tell you
that watching The Strangers
is a horrifying experience.

I would tell you
that there is no good reason to keep a purse
inside of your purse,
but there’s really no bad reason either.

I would tell you
that there’s probably someone else out there
who holds her memories in
black and white sketches
and who can’t read out loud.

I would tell you not to trust your cousin
On the night of your bat mitzvah,
And also you’re going to fall into a bush.

I would tell you
that it’s great that you help your friends out when they’re sick,
but don’t be so shocked
when you end up with a cold of your own.

I would tell you
that what happens at sleep-away camp
sometimes creeps into “real” life.

I would tell you that childhood
is limitless,
and growing up doesn’t mean your heart
has to die.

I would tell you
to not get your father mad
right before you take the picture for your Christmas card,
and to make sure your brother’s tooth stays in
for a couple minutes longer.

I would tell you to clean your room.
It’s not fun sneezing
every time you walk in there

I would tell you that it’s not a bad thing
to start a conversation
with a random stranger in a café.

I would tell you that
a picture is worth a thousand words,
And silence can be worth a million,
even when it feels counterproductive.

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