The duster is covered with dust.
Still. Where you placed it,
weeks ago, high on the list
which lengthens with items, drifts
from fridge to floor. Skin flakes
and hair and dander and fluff.
Neighbours’ pet sheddings, too,
and lost limbs of bugs, and something
that floats from the trees –
whatever dies or falls or flakes off,
whatever’s forgotten. I catalogue. I flip
through the latest from Sears, amazed
the thing’s still in print. Pyjamas
and lingerie. Towels and kitchenware.
Dining sets. Bunk beds. Lego kits. Bedding.
The new and the next. Hoover and Dyson
and Bosch. Warehouses full and awaiting
my order. A stock boy buzzing about,
keeping things tidy for minimum wage.
A good day’s work in the world,
in the warehouse. The making of a man.
The felt of my tongue on the roof
of my mouth. You asked me so nicely
to check off a simple chore.
Now I’m feathered in it. Layers
and lists. The lid of myself. If I move,
it will all lift. I’ll sneeze and we’ll scatter,
the whole mess of us. The duster,
the dust. Rise up, then settle
back into the couch.
“To Do” is a poem on the theme of “Energy”, inspired by the Depression Project focus groups’ discussions.
Read more poems from “Oh Not So Great”: Poems from the Depression Project.