Final Notations by Adrienne Rich
Six in the evening last night. I was watching a cooking show and memorizing a recipe of pasta with mascarpone, carrots and peas. And then of an omelette, and salmon on a bagel, thinking, I should really make that sometime. I was hungry and envious of another woman’s kitchen, thinking, someday my sink. My stove, my oven, my wonderful marble counter top. My pan, my skillet, my lovely block of cheese, my fresh raspberries, my self licking cream from the spatula.
Ten in the evening last Friday. I was drinking long island cocktail and singing karaoke, thinking, I’m glad I got out of the house. Thinking, I should really get out more. Thinking, oh god this is the first time I’ve stayed out late in over a year and I didn’t bring my own keys and I would probably have to wake people up when I come home.
Two in the morning sometime last month. I am standing at the balcony, somewhere outside the city, trying to find the moon. Everything is so black, I am staring at nothing: it could be the sea, or the sky, or the abyss. In the morning, there’s fog everywhere. Everything is so white, like smoke, like something is burning. I said to myself, this could be my life.
Three in the morning today. I can’t sleep. My bed is small and yet it feels too empty. This is my life, I tell myself. Months from now. Years from now. Who will love you, whispers my heart, who can be cruel some nights. And I think of all the days when I almost have it together, and the peace I found there. It’s okay, I think, as I close my eyes. This is my life.
Nine in the morning last Monday. I am listening to a song I’ve forgotten. I raised my hands and closed my eyes, and then I was dancing, well, swaying really, feeling the words go through my body. I said to myself, I could begin again, I could try again, this could be my life. I said to myself, of course it would take work. And tears. Chocolate. The obligatory calories deposited on my hips and thighs. Of course. But this could be my life.
it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple
it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple
You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives
it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will