Dirty Dishes Snap the Beat

I was reminded of this poem while sweeping the garage and thinking how dust seems to create more dust.

Dirty Dishes
Cherri Jean Porter (2003)

dirty dishes are fertile. a stir
spoon spawns a crumbed saucer.
a mug half-mooned
of cocoa or rushred gloss,
two licked knives,
a bundt pan.

you attempt to conquer
the mess. wipe the table
clean, load the dishwasher,
switch it on. in the swish, the hush,
there is one instant of hope,

then, plates clean just
moments ago appear, already
sticky with jam. spotless wedgewood
swaggers from the shelf, saucy,
as if seduced, as if barry white crooned
the hinges wide and the cupboards let loose—

cereal bowls, serving platters, soup
ladles all side step and spin. a juice-
ringed glass snaps the beat.

one by cup by three they
stack and clutter, reproduce
themselves, until, again, not a
clean spoon in the joint. a colony
of tines shore the sink like tangled
baby willows, no slice of beach left
to butter bread or chop the onion.

you plan an escape,
but it's pickle the hands
or starve.

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