Cleaning

Standard

Sometimes
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
wrinkled fingertips
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,
big,
thoughtful.
She shrugged, not getting it.

Now it was starting to make sense;
doing dishes
was like paying for dinner by sneaking
a card to the waiter
before dessert.

It was better unbidden,
done as a favor or a gift
just because.
Cleaning for someone is the same
only better because your hands are left
wrinkled, smelling like soap
or laundry.
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
takes turns,
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.

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8 responses »

  1. what a lovely narrative poem. it has a satisfying arc to the story – very nice!
    thanks for stopping by plucky umbrella so often,
    nice to meet you,
    mary
    p.s. you are a realllllllly fast runner

    • You’re more than welcome and thank you, too, for the visit! I’ve been a little MIA recently, but should be back to the rhythm soon, I hope.

      And THANK YOU for thinking I’m fast. Haha… it’s all relative, I think.

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