The List

Arlene MacDonald
Guest Author

I made a list of things to do tomorrow
before I went to bed,

so all those tasks I need to do
wouldn’t leave my head.

I woke to brilliant sun,
happy that the day had just begun.

I reached onto my nightstand
to fetch my glasses,

to read my list of things to do
before the morning passes.

I searched and searched, but to my despair
my trusty glasses did not reappear.

Try as I might,
I couldn’t restore my sight.

Without my eyes
to lead me to my list,

the things I need to do
no longer exist.

Does this mean I have license to play;
do whatever I want and enjoy the day?

What a great turn of events,
I realize with glee.

Losing the list must mean
I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!


About Arlene MacDonald:  “I am a retired Computer Aided Drafting teacher. Oddly enough, I taught at Johnson County Community College, where guest author Martha Varzaly is currently teaching Composition. We don’t know each other, but it certainly illustrates how small the world is. I am a novice in the writing department, but I have always loved words and the feelings they evoke. I was inspired to try my hand at the craft  by my dear friend who is the author of this blog. She is a teacher who is quick to praise and to encourage all of her students on Sanibel Island, and  I’m lucky enough to have her as my personal muse.”

Nolan Zavoral: Poet

Today I’d like to sing the praises of Nolan Zavoral. Every Monday, when I’m home in Minneapolis, I attend our Monday Morning Poetry Group with Deborah Keenan. Nolan, who has been a member of Deborah’s group for ten years,  brings a new poem for us each week. I’m always intrigued by his unique view of life after 50. His poems are quirky and insightful and always full of fresh images.  When he read this poem last week, I knew I wanted tp feature Nolan and his poem on our website.

Nolan’s background is journalism, thirty years’ worth, mostly on the staffs of metro dailies, in Minneapolis and Milwaukee, and at USA Today. “I quit to write what I wanted: fiction and poetry,” he says. He was a founding member of the Laurel Poetry Collective. Besides being published by the collective, he has published poems in many anthologies and poetry publications.

“With Deborah Keenan’s help,” he says, ” I’m putting together a new poetry manuscript.”

Here is his poem:



These are not age spots on the backs of my hands.

They are freckles.


I go to bed later and later, as if I’m afraid

To release another day.


My stylist takes less and less time for my trims.

She must be getting a lot faster.


Twenty years younger than I, she lost her husband

And brother within a month. I over-tip, like it’s a comfort.


There’s nothing wrong with my memory, although

I still can’t remember the name of The Band’s drummer.


There’s one other name I keep forgetting, but

I can’t remember what it is.


Occasionally, when my prosthetic right hip and pace-

Maker and denture aren’t troubling me, I feel almost 50.


If life throws you a curve, just make contact, is

My motto.


I have no idea what that means.



–Nolan Zavoral