Every morning, soon as I wake up, I make a list of things to do that day. As the day goes on, things get crossed off, until night comes, at which point I turn into a pumpkin and can do no more. Whatever wasn’t done on that day’s list goes onto tomorrow’s list. Once in a great while –like once a year or so– the end of the afternoon approaches and it looks as if everything on the list might actually get crossed off. This is a terrifying thought –what would happen if there were nothing left on the list?– so I quickly add a couple more things. To leave this world without having done it all, I guess that’s the only thing that feels right to me. So you can see why I love this poem.
– Eve Grubin
My husband has trouble finishing things.
When he washes the dishes
he leaves at least one pot in the sink and a few pieces of silverware.
He says that my writing about this
may constitute lashon hara, speaking negatively about others.
‘Not finishing things is zecher l’churban,’ he adds,
a way of remembering the destruction of the Temple
which stood in Jerusalem nearly two-thousand years ago.
Now he’s in the other room making the bed, which will look lovely
except for a few untucked corners, a pillow askew,
strange for a man who is slightly OCD, who can’t bear
a slanted piece of paper on my desk.
Yesterday, he almost
finished his article on Ælfric’s use of Latin in Old English prose,
and he began one of the tasks on his list of things to do.
Who needs finality when unfinishing creates a longing
for what has not yet happened?
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