Fair Warnings

Not all can be learned secondhand;
“The stovetop is hot”, she says,
but this means nothing
until we touch the red irons –
the truth of heat is searing and
unobscured by language.
and she says other things, yes,
“don’t mix beer and wine” or
“nothing good happens after midnight”
and she is right, as always,
she has touched these stovetops before,
but we are young and we are bold
and have no desire to learn about life secondhand,
no desire to intuit the taste of a meal
by devouring its leavings,
no, we deny these fair warnings
and lead ourselves, gleeful,
through hideous experience.

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