Open Mic for Poetry & the Spoken Word

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Kitchen Sink

While becoming friends, along with many other syncronicities, Kelly and I discovered we had both written poems to our kitchen sinks.  Mine’s been around a long time and appears in my first book of poems Be a Teller of Tales so I’m happy to publish it again here.  Kelly’s is newer and she may want to send it off for submission or enter it in a contest.  We’ll see.  All writers should be aware that posting counts as publishing to those keeping score!  While the kitchen sink may seem like the most banal object in the world to write about, we ask you to consider all the uses to which it can be put:

Hair wash

Baby wash

Paring vegetables


Mixing dye

First Aid

Quick disposal of drugs, dregs, and butts

Filling with flowers

Potting plants

(for men) A midnight piss (don’t tell)


Aside from all those juicy prompts, consider as well the magic the thrums below the surface of the mundane, encoded in fragmented memories and quirky associations.  Any carpet can be made to fly…


I haven’t washed the dirty dishes in a week;

not the Franciscan ware my Grandmother left me,

nor her silver spoons; not the two blue bowls,

with dragons on the bottom that only appear

when the last spoonful of oatmeal is scraped up.

The iron skillet we bought at a yard sale

on our first anniversary is rusting beneath the mugs

from Neiman Marcus we fought over on our fourth.

The coffee-cup you slammed onto the counter

still broods beside the crowded sink.

The same burnt toast lies on the same spot

on the kitchen floor — I’m grinding it to crumbs,

bypassing the sink to open the refrigerator

whose contents are not the same because

I’ve eaten all the strawberry ice cream

and dumped the chocolate milk down the toilet.

Upstairs our bed

is still unmade, but the sheets

are clean, I changed them last Tuesday,

tearing the garage apart to find

soft college flannels that never

smelled of you.

I’ve discovered daytime TV, watching

Marlena and Stefano, Bo, Hope and Billy

while the Sands of Time fall through the hourglass

and the Days of Our Lives go ticking by.

There are twenty-five unanswered calls

on the machine: five from Mama,

seven from my boss, none from you.

The smoke alarm never did stop beeping

so I tore out the battery and threw the toaster

in the garbage. Now I stick a fork through bread

and hold it over a burner like my grandmother did

but I’m running out of butter

and Safeway does not deliver.

I wish you’d come back and do the dishes.

©1999Christine Irving