How to Avoid Giving Unwanted Advice
Hold your tongue still with your teeth.
Feel the sharp white line press down
until it threatens to draw blood.

Slip into the silences
until your head is submerged
resist the urge to surface for air.

Place your advice in a room of mirrors,
consider it from all angles
as it puts on the finishing touches.

Swallow rhetorical questions whole,
dissolve in stomach acid without reply,
and even then, don’t wait for a pause

wait to be asked.

first published in Between the Floorboards (ID on Tyne press) 2010

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