1. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear and listen to the waves crashing from your grandma’s bedroom like dark crashes into the light at dawn and his peachy silhouette on the pillar porch, like your heart crashed into his and now he’s gone and you’ll never get him back so you’re a panicky mess.
2. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear; it’ll become a memory you can’t unhear and 30 years from now you’ll be standing in the kitchen making maple-flavored maltomeal for your 9-year-old because you’re out of bacon; and it’ll be dancing in the distance like his fingers danced across your freckled skin and then disappeared, and you’re left paralyzed and wondering if you ever really heard it.
3. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear; it’s like your ancestors are talking to you but all at once, flinging warning shots in the middle of a midlife crisis, bullets filled with anxiety and things you should have done but never did and now you’ll never get the chance to because death is like your best friend’s house that’s just around the corner; you could walk there if you wanted, but you just want to live.
4. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear; it’ll drive you mentally insane with wonder humming a familiar tune like childhood, like your grandmother bringing you midnight lemonade to cure heartburn while you watched the Golden Girls and Patty Duke and curled up in her warm nook of the bed; and her hands, soft as pearls, smoothing back your thin blonde hair with her sacred scarlet ribbon voice; and they’ll all say you’re the lucky one because you had her the longest but now you can’t even remember her scent.
5. Don’t put that seashell to your ear and listen to the waves like the racing lace on the ring of a magic mirror that’s destroyed generations of could-have-beens; because sooner than you’d like it to, it’ll be the only thing you hear and you’ll lay awake at night embracing a solitaire sound that came from a seashell you put to your ear while your grandfather slept in a living room leather reclining chair drinking cold coffee and forgot every name of every street he ever drove and every person he ever knew; he even forgot how to chew.
But I’d bet these monsters in my head he remembered his “seashell” like I’ll remember you.