Friday, January 5, 2018

To-Do List

A host of minor duties crowd around,
pulling at my skirts like restless children
crying out for attention.
Sadly, the quiet ones, the simple ones,
often go unnoticed --
even though each has its own importance --
until, days later, I remember --
Oh, yes, that one -- and feel guilty,
as if I'd driven off from school
and left a child behind.

All these shoulds we carry on our shoulders,
giving them bouncy rides
to make up for forgetfulness,
grow heavy. I am sinking under their weight,
like the old woman with her groceries
who struggles up the hill to her apartment
looking ahead without the thrill of anticipation
to another night where her tired knobby fingers
open yet another can of soup
to pour its contents into a rumpled saucepan
which she places on a hotplate,
hoping she'll remember to turn it off
before the contents burn, and ruin another pan,
meanwhile wishing, secretly,
that she could just fall asleep
and let the whole place burn down to the ground,
taking her with it:
taking her sore hands, her tired back,
her unpredictable bladder,
her loneliness,
her memories,
the pictures of the children
she never sees.

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