Hanna Yost | Notes to my Daughter

*Hanna Yost was selected as ZPlatt’s 2014 Featured Writer.


If I have a daughter, I will tell her things like:

The ocean and the shore are complicated. They’re in an on-again, off- again relationship.

They love each other. They just need their space.

Every time you litter, you’re poisoning the trees.

     You were born to speak the language of the sun. Do not first assume that you are not

communicating efficiently if one does not understand you. It is not your shortcoming. You

speak in an elevated language. The planets can hear you. They understand. This is what


When we cut your hair, we will feed the trimmings to the wind. That way birds will find

your silken strands and make a nest out of them. Your hair will warm eggs.

Your DNA will mix with the warm, wet hatchlings.

We will paint our toes every Sunday. It will not be so much about the colored polish, but

about the time spent on the bath rug. You will need to schedule times to take care of


Your genetics allow for you to love in one of two ways: for a week or for forever.

     Wine etiquette: drink Moscato alone, Pinot Grigio with your lover, Merlot with your

girlfriends, and Chardonnay at family outings.

Drink vodka when you’re depressed. Puke all the next day when you’re depressed. Fall

asleep tasting bile when you’re exhausted. Wake up at 3 a.m. in a nervous state about life.

Live in the desert. Live in the jungle. Live anywhere where it does not drop below 0°F.

Love people who hurt you. Love people who don’t. Hurt people you love. Don’t hurt

people you love. Be messy. It’s the only way you’ll understand yourself.

Live a self-examined life. I lied when I said you’ll understand yourself, but you have to

try anyway.

Only have a clock in one room of the house. If the clock breaks, do not fix it. Do not

watch the time.

Read The Virgin Suicides and write a pretty poem. Think of how much you love your life

and write a pretty poem. Think of how much you hate genetics and then call me on the


You’ll fall in love with fresh art one day and the sky will fall out of your mouth until you

cannot get out of bed. You will take many pills. You will not feel any better, nor feel any

worse. You will be comfortably numb. You will start wearing a Pink Floyd shirt to bed every

night. You will be sad that one guy did not call you. You will be less sad than usual because

the pills made you lose your sex drive. You will think of how much you hate genetics.

You will call me on the phone.

I will be drinking Moscato and writing pretty poems about the lovers who have left me

while I was singing pretty songs, and I’ll be in my Cobain shirt, downing my pills with my


I will tell you, Darling, I’m sorry I made you this way. I hate genetics, too. Aren’t we

lucky you live inside my poetry and not in the next generation of artists at war with their


You will smile and write a poem prettier than the life you live. You will name it

“Genetics” and it will win an award. It will not make you feel anything.


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