she liked to do other people’s dishes.
Now she was leaning over the sink,
t-shirt sticking to the wet edge,
thinking about wiping counters
and washing each dish
– a chore associated with a job not offered,
a chore that let her stay out of the way.
When she was done,
she said goodnight.
She wandered to bed.
Her parents explained about dishes,
how doing them was important,
She shrugged, not getting it.
Now it was starting to make sense;
was like paying for dinner by sneaking
a card to the waiter
It was better unbidden,
done as a favor or a gift
Cleaning for someone is the same
only better because your hands are left
wrinkled, smelling like soap
This reminded her of Thanksgiving.
Everyone in the kitchen
being shooed away
to play with Eddy the dog, the kid cousins.
Everyone taking turns to entertain
even the rerun-watching girlfriend
jaw slack in front of the TV.
For Thanksgiving, everyone pays attention
tries to do the dishes
before someone else does.
Affection, she thought, is a funny thing.
And now she was leaning over the sink
t-shirt sticking to the wet edge. Sometimes
she liked to do the dishes.