Saturday, August 27, 2022

Louise Erdrich’s 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.

“Advice to Myself” by Louise Erdrich from Original Fire. © Harper Collins Publishers, 2003.

I’m drawn to this today, and letting its message sift in to my consciousness as I woke up thinking of how many things there are To Be Done and how I might Get Them Done.  

The poem came to my attention in a newsletter I signed up for this week, by the author Sharon Blackie, who my old friend Kathleen put onto my radar and whose book she recommended, If Women Rose Rooted, is now on my side table book stack. Thank you, Kathleen! I am certain this author is going to enrich my life and what a treat to have her work waiting for me as we move from summer to fall and on into winter. The very best time for this kind of deep work. 


Kathleen said...

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

billie said...

I am certain I will!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great advice! Sounds like a good book.

billie said...

I’ll report back for sure. :)