"The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, April 1, 2011


Calculator in one hand, pen in the other,
I creep line by line through the checkbook
To reconcile it with the bank statement:
A list that sums up a month of our lives.
Everything we bought, how we chose to spend
The money we traded hours and days for.
Here it all is, even the things we lost the receipts for.
No way to change it now,
The $6.97 blown on a fast food lunch
When craving seemed more important than nutrition,
Or the $25.50 for the overpriced shirt
Which turned out not to fit well
And got a stain anyway the first time it was worn.
But there are good memories too, tucked in between.
The time we got pizza and ate and talked and laughed.
The theater tickets for me and my daughter.
Seeds for the garden, paint for the house,
Even a few dollars freely given away.
When I reach the end, how comforting to see the numbers equal,
To draw a final line and write below it: "Balanced."
I imagine there will be a harder reconciling
When my life’s final statement comes.
I hope enough good will be recorded
In between the bad
To be able to say
It balances.

~ Tamary Shoemaker
(This grew out of balancing the checkbook this morning and noticing how it brought back to mind all the purchases I'd forgotten through the month, even the ones I didn't want to remember.)

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