The following was an assignment for my writing class based on a much prettier poem by a much more talented and accomplished writer. Her name is Mary Szybist and here is an article about her book containing this and other poems.

Rae says she wants to be a writer. She tells herself she’ll start in a minute every minute until it’s time for bed. She doesn’t want to be tired as well as unproductive, so she goes to sleep and promises herself she’ll write in the morning.

Rae has a strategy for making outfits out of all the items in her closet. But every morning she hits snooze until she has only enough time to find yesterday’s jeans and a t-shirt that smells clean.

Rae really likes cooking. She resents how stereotypically feminine it is to like cooking, but she enjoys the way it makes her feel productive and human. If the zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow, at least she has one life skill.

When she starts thinking too much about the person she wants to be, Rae moves the clothes she doesn’t like into another closet and washes her hair with baking soda.

Once a month, Rae buys celery stalks to have as a healthy snack. She throws them out when she finds them brown and watery in the bag at the back of the fridge.

Rae decided yesterday that today was the day she would start living for her dream, but she knows no great project was ever started on a Tuesday.

Rae worries that all her ideas are stupid and she only has one life skill.

She used to do an hour of cardio every day, but she stopped because it was cutting into her writing time.

Rae is scared that she squandered her twenties by not writing, but also not really having experiences worth writing about.

She doesn’t believe this is true.

Rae thinks she is a terribly interesting person, but not everyone is smart or kind enough to realize it.

She thinks that sounds funny to you, but it makes her worry she is a narcissist or a sociopath.

Rae likes the way her husband takes long naps on Sundays and doesn’t get paralyzed by decision fatigue before breakfast every other day of the week. He is invulnerable to existentialism and she wants to crawl inside the space between his body and the sheets and live where it’s dry and quiet.

Rae doesn’t want to have any children. She doesn’t want anyone to blame her for getting dragged into this mess.

What Rae wants more than anything is an endless number of days with nothing particular to do, preferably in a beach house. Maybe then she’ll learn how to surf.

When the sun is shining, but not too hot, and her little students are giggling wantonly on the playground, Rae reminds herself that she is happy. Maybe she will write about it later.


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