When “I Do” Becomes “To Do”


When did loving you become
An item to do on a list,
Folded in between washing
And ironing your shirts,
Vacuuming cat hair, or
Emptying the dishwasher.

Is it enough that I promise
I’ll get to you, I’ll work you in
Between crying children and
Groaning parents and endless
Meetings followed by a long
Commute—will you wait your turn?

When did loving you stop
Being the reason I needed
That list—to remind myself I
Had real-world things to do,
Down below the clouds,
Back on solid ground.

The grass has grown long and
The roof is leaking again.
We eat late suppers of
Burnt toast and cold coffee
Leftover from morning, while
Planning for tomorrow.

When did loving you switch
From distraction to obligation,
Swapping one guilt for another,
Needing to breathe, but feeling
Myself gasp instead, inhaling
That moment the air grew stale.

As I write your name in pencil,
I peek at your paper, needing to
See my name still there, written
When love was a promise made before
Children and chores, musts and mayhem,
This life of lists, when loving you
Became the to do.