Advice to Myself

Leave the dishes. Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic—decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in through the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Louise Erdrich

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5 comments on “Advice to Myself

  1. chrissie on said:

    I need this balm today – have a stinking cold ! Plus had my put my furry baby down. My lil cat and feel bereft and do not want to do a thing although boy does it need doing !

    • brocantehome on said:

      Permission granted to just wallow for the afternoon Chrissie…x

      • chrissie on said:

        Thank you hun – lost my Mum with Alzheimers couple weeks ago yet, and I realise this sounds awful, I have cried more over Reuben ! Adored Mum but grieved for her for 10 years. Wallowing bit time ! X

  2. I hope Life is looking brighter for you Alison. I know you are dealing with a lot lately.

    Ali x

  3. Ha ha! This is fantastic! Love it. I need to go this way more often.