Washing Dishes


He watched her walk away
from another fight,
watched her turn from him
to embrace the afternoon
shining through an open window
above the kitchen sink
where she watched their boys
from a distance
chase the neighbor’s calico
up the Japanese Maple
where it panted for life
on a limb too high
for their small, outstretched hands.

She turned her attention
back to washing dishes
and washed so rigorously
the tea cups clapped their saucers;
spoons, oval moons,
eclipsed rims of coffee mugs;
butter knives secretly slid
inside the fork in forks.

And it was a surprise
when he walked up behind her
to rub the nape of her neck,
gently gliding his hand
down the length of her arm
continuing into the warm, sudsy water
where he found her hands,
her fidgeting fingers
hiding under the shelter
of a capsized bowl.

Carolynn Kingyens