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.
—– —– —–
Featured image courtesy of Chinwe
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Paula Gamble says
I love this! I so relate! I love how you were able to leave the mess for a time and relax in the warm water, and then embrace the whole gift of preparing, sharing what matters, and cleaning up again, repeat.
Loren Warnemuende says
It is worth it, it is worth it, it is worth it…. (I’m working to remind myself of that truth. This helps.)
Kimberlee Conway Ireton says
“That feast to which all feasts incline.” Love that line. Love this poem, so very accurate a picture of my own life. Thank you!