obligations to the self


Make a packing list of everything you’ll need for today.
Just for today.

Remember clean underwear, says your mother.

Remember the memory of your dog that died 3 years ago.
Don’t forget weak ties and stranger’s smiles,
the frozen grass that sinks slowly under your weight with each step,
the waning moon.

Do you need to bring water where you are going
– does it taste like where it’s been?
Which textures will soothe your body before sleep?
Do you bring a song?

What will you pack all these things in?
What will require careful wrapping?
What weighty thing goes on the bottom?
Will you really need it?

What will you find today that will remind you
the circumstances of now are new?
(You will need it to know you’re alive.)
What is the shape of it? The color?

Can you walk away taking just the memory of it?


Would you banish the dust specks from a ray of sunlight?
Where would you send them?

What names do you give the creatures
that cling to your eyelashes?
Have you ever heard them sing
for you?
A lullaby?
A lament for your dead cells?

What goes and what stays in the ecosystem of your skin?
What do you do with the bathwater?

Where is there a space for spiders in your house?
In which corner do the dark spirits gather to dance?
What would the wind sing if they were all to leave?

On what patch of earth will you unpack your lunch?

How do you weigh the balance of a puppy’s kiss
and an impeccable soul?