from Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson

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I believe that all women, but especially housewives, tend to think in lists; I have always believed, against all opposition, that women think in logical sequence, but it was not until I came to empty the pockets of my light summer coat that year that I realized how thoroughly the housekeeping mind falls into the list pattern, how basically the idea of a series of items, following one another docilely, forms the only possible reasonable approach to life if you have to live it with a home and a husband and children, none of whom follow each other docilely. p 74

Every morning I wake,
pad down the stairs
and grab a piece of paper
from the scrap pile.

I empty my head of
all the swirling thoughts
that demand my attention.

The To Do lists
are often much the same:
Write the blog,
Download the photos,
Send off the reviews,
Make a grocery list.

Eventually the scribbled on scraps
find their way to my desk,
or sometimes a pocket.
The bottom of my purse is
littered with colorful origami
of lists that were once helpful.

These lists generally do not
last more than a day.
The items get checked off
and those that don’t
make an appearance on the next.

It’s funny the things
I don’t put on:
Sing with the boy,
Snuggle the dog,
Laugh with the husband,
Finish the book.

Yet these are the things I don’t want to forget to do.

This week’s list is different.
Monday—Work
Tuesday—Help the boy pack
Wednesday –Take the boy for his driver’s license
Thursday—Shop for essentials
Friday—Drop the boy off at school

And then Saturday
is wide open.
I’m pretty sure
it will start with a list.

Smile
Finish the book
Don’t be sad
Snuggle the dog
Stop missing the boy
Laugh with the husband
Buy more tissues

3 thoughts on “from Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson

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