Advice on What Matters Most shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.
— Kahil Gibran

Hold fast to your shell
you who are soft and rare,
you who are so easily pulled apart
and lost.

How is it that you could dare
to give everything over
to life
and still be?

Safer to peek
from plain, solid shutters
and live barely
in halves
than to face the whole
of the fearsome mysteries
and fail.

Safer to cower low
than risk, burst open wide
and begin.

 Kate Franzmann

Kate Franzmann

Kate Franzmann writes, teaches, and parents near Barneveld, Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in River Styx, Taproot, The Comstock Review, and several issues of Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. She was the third-place winner of this year’s Kay Saunders Memorial Emerging Poet Award.