I won’t tell you to “man up” because when a heart breaks,

it cracks down the middle in exactly the same place for everybody.

Sometimes the fault line is just a little more jagged than others.

The worst thing you can do right now is run away from home,

because even though your heart is snapped like a bird’s neck,

it’s still the only apartment you’ll ever have,

no matter how dilapidated the back porch gets.

Maybe most people think a man
would be strong, be tough,

but in a situation like this
even cigarette burns 
feel like forest fires.

Don’t touch the mess of your torn

vena cava and bloodlines – they’ll
flame up like a funeral pyre.

This might get ugly.

Fight with your fists; throw left hooks like the wedding bouquets

you’re suddenly not sure you’ll ever get to smell.

No more limping like a stray dog with its tail between its legs;

when you were born even the bones in your spine

were already trying to make you stand upright,

so prove scoliosis wrong.
No more throwing stones

at glass houses – you’ve already got
enough brokenness to deal with

for one night.
No antiseptic either, no bandages.

Let there be scars.

Let them come.

They’re just anatomical proof of survival.

Writings for Winter: advice from a father to a daughter with a broken heart


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