Instructions for the long march

You will not need all that clothing
lying in heaps on the shelves,
hanging like skins gathered in
a different season.

And you will have to do
certain tasks that used to be
fulfilled by others, or that you
only read about in manuals

for long-term care. But
in all things, you must learn
gentleness— which is a little
like but more than just

dimming the lights to soften
the glare, or reaching around
the body to unhook stays
that bind or support.

Give yourself to what will sustain
the most, what will boost the quality
of breath in the most interior room.
When everything without

grows fuller and more crowded with noise,
discard all unnecessary furniture. Watch
the landscape expand with what you
remember of water and light and air.

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