After the Lasagna

by Richie Narvaez

OVER to pick up the last of my stuff.
Why don't you stay for dinner? you say.
Sure, I say.
How are things?
Things are fine.
Then the phone rings.
You gab on the phone with your new boyfriend,
laugh, whisper, I get up quietly
to wash the dishes, a mountain
of pots and pans you've built.

I stretch your Palmolive by adding water.

Your mother once told me
I ran the water too hot, but that was my way
— I made things squeaky clean,
a master surgeon or, better, a captain
of a foamy sea, archipelagoes of cutlery, coffee cup buoys,
this wine glass a lipstick-ringed lighthouse.

Where do you keep the Brillo now?

I've washed dishes for others,
wooed them with a passion to please,
''Oh, you wash dishes, too!'' they'd say
But I do this more as time off, time for silence,
the hiss of running water, the soft ceramic sounds,
movement and thought
only on what is in front of me,
my hands soaking in it.

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