Don’t touch owl feathers because owls are dirty and you may end up with more diseases—and you have more than your share already.
Similarly, do not touch the dead squirrel in front of the house, What you first thought was a fluffy kitten because it wasn’t flattened at all.
Don’t tell the old man across the street of the fresh death. Hope that when you are out at the store, someone other than the old man removes the intact carcass.
Try to talk more slowly. People are afraid—that the glass chariot you have shifted to fifth gear on all cylinders will crash into the sun—and the shards will hurt them—before the glass melts back into sand.
Don’t lose sight of the horizon when you spin like a dancer you are too old to become.
But you must do something—move beneath the sky in time that closes in on you.
Don’t lose your temper as it will boomerang back to you, finding you alone under the arches of forest trees where you trace with your finger thin ribbons of light and river.
Stay calm when your shadow takes over you when you are walking the dog.
Do your best not to talk back to your elderly mother. Remind yourself how lucky you are she is still here and in her house, pulling out the weeds down the hill even though you tell her to wait for you.
Remember how she stroked your hair while you slept in the car and woke still in childhood.
Continue to communicate with the ghosts in the cellar. They have missed you of late.
Refrain from testing people if you no longer want them to disappoint you. Instead, test yourself but grade with a sliding scale when you leave a wake of small failures. Cut yourself some slack as you do for any other.
Do not expose your Achilles heel to any potential enemies.
Break apart the amalgamation of objects in the house, their papers, the dust, your worry—without throwing too much away. Recycle your beliefs in kindness.
Stop collecting useless souvenirs along with your grievances—those pillows and sad stuffed animals on your bed where you burrow.
Don’t underestimate the power of love—the small packages in the mail. The folded up letters written still in cursive, sewn with silver thread.