A dozen empty glasses stand on the countertop
filmed over with last night’s supper.
I should have washed them straightaway,
but I was heavy in the legs and
grimy with day labor.
The children were noisy last night.
They clashed like wood spoons on sheet metal.
I sat futile as a dry cow
with my hands on the table.
There were bowls half full
of succulent gravies
cooled into dullness.
There was a line of butter sauce
dripped out and dragged
like a child not wanting to leave the swimming pool.
It would smear when I tried to wipe it off the wood.
I hate to clean off a smear.
Bits of bread were spilt
The spoons left sticky white moons.
I wanted a hot bath instead,
and so I took this tired body and settled it down,
muscle and joint into gallons and gallons of bright water.
I sat in the steam and read a book.
I left the mess for today.
In five hours,
these same cups will be filled again.
They will lift full and merry in the candlelight,
washing down red-skinned sage potatoes.
They will whet tongues
for an hour,
children running fast and outward.
And I will be tired again.
I clank among these vessels now,
with a sink full of good strong soap.
I know the mop will leave my floor shining
in this little room of preparation.
It is a sacred thing to make the food.
And so I will light the lavender candle
and revel in the undermeaning of this temporal communion,
for every necessary microlabor
is granted permission to hum like a jolly she-cook.
I will stir up to my elbows in holy anticipation
and wipe flour on my apron
from that feast to which all feasts incline.
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Featured image courtesy of Chinwe