This is not a To Do List

By Alice White

Here I am in my writing café
trying not to think about
the To Do List and eating
fruit toast and jam.

My To Do List is hidden
in a drawer and it has
some points highlighted
to make me feel better
about the rest of the list,
which I shall never do.

This is because it is not
actually a To Do List but
a Wish List.
I am not sure what exactly
it is a Wish List for.
Is it a Wish List
for a lot more time?
Or for more arms or
one or two extra heads?
Or some other selves?
I could use these selves elsewhere
and call them back occasionally
to gain all the credit.
One could become an educational expert
who possesses the formula for academic success
and sells it over and over again.
Another will ensure both children write
thank you letters and decorate them
tastefully and send them before
the grandparents forget what they gave.
And a third will be hotter than Les Murray.

So this is not a Wish List either.
This is the rough draft of some ideas about femininity
cobbled together from too many advertisements,
half remembered apologies by female relatives,
unanswered telephone calls,
a long forgotten English degree,
poorly conceived self-help books
and the frowns of other mothers –
whilst simultaneously being the best
my subconscious can manage
in alerting me to the pathetic state
of my female identity.

No, this is not a To Do List , or a Wish List,
or a Rough Draft of Some Ideas about Femininity
or The Best My Subconscious Can Manage
but the expression of all the versions of womanhood
that have been foisted upon me as society struggles
to create a truly ‘feminine’ space for me to know
what ‘liberty’ really means, so
the best thing I can do
is keep this list in a drawer
go to my writing café
and eat fruit toast and jam.