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After my husband left, I was left with a 100-year-old house with filthy molding, damaged plaster, cracked windows and peeling paint. I had to sell it, because all he wanted out of 40 years was the equity, plus I couldn’t really afford to live there.

Stripped, patched, and sanded
I transfigured the hallway
My life, not so much

Umberto Eco said, “The list is the origin of culture. Wherever you look in cultural history, you will find lists.” My lists exist on every surface of my life- the car dashboard, my desk, the fridge, the spiral book I carry everywhere. I have two list apps on my phone. I had those little moleskin notebooks where I organize my lists into meta-lists. A notebook for the rehab, and one for the house search, and the one for the new database.

My lists move
From list to list
An illusion of control

Lists explain things. They lay it out—if I can distill it into these discreet steps, then the terrible unknowableness of life will disappear. If I can list it, I can control it. My lists mean that I can move through and check off- this is done, and this and this and this. It breaks life down to its essential essence, like an atom with ever smaller molecules. The list as infinity.

a haibun for the dverse prompt of 3/11/20: lists. A little off prompt, as I treated it as a topic, rather than a structure. Read another about lists here.

14 thoughts on “My lists have lists

  1. I like your personification of lists and listing. I couldn’t have learned how to use a computer without initial check lists. As a poet, I dig lists.

  2. I live by lists also. I see them as frameworks and ideals. I like how you have described them, as functions of culture and control. I also like the connection you make between them and infinity. My lists are never expected to end, only morph and increase-decrease like inhaling-exhaling.

  3. Sounds as if you need to make a list of your lists!! There were two list-makers in my writing group. I admired them both a great deal. They seem to have such organized minds. Personally, I employ the scattergun approach!!

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