There’s a list:
Of things you have to do
incorporeal but ever-growing and daily changing.
You know every item on that list
even as the days pass and things are added or removed
because you hear it, you speak it, you live it.
You never let yourself forget it.
At home, at work, at school, the store, a friend’s house, in the car-
the list is there;
each item pulling you in a different direction.
You know this list, front and back,
but how will you ever complete it?
In the meantime you feel weak;
small, worthless, a failure.
There’s so much to do but not enough time to do it.
You’re at work and you’re itching to get things done.
You have to.
On a day off, you do.
You dare to feel proud – if just for a moment,
but you’re tired.
A passerby tells you to smile.
You add it to the list.