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:
Quick disposal of drugs, dregs, and butts
Filling with flowers
(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.