Zen Dishwashing


for Tony

 

First, you’ll need a dishpan

preferably a cobalt blue plastic dishpan that

your mother bought in Poughkeepsie

and a couple squirts of

dish liquid. Green’s the best.

Take a mug with you,

leave the food-encrusted bowls

stacked where they are.

Really, they won’t move.

Walk barefoot to the bathroom

in your favorite pajamas

(or pyjamas if feeling British)

and turn up the faucet

to scalding.

Fill the dishpan two-thirds full

with hot water straight up

from the bowels of the dormitory;

don’t burn your hands.

Placing the mugs and bowls gently

into the now-sudsy pan, carry it,

treading carefully back to your room.

Don’t spill.

Add the dirty dishes.

Go away for some hours,

come back and remember

they’re still there.

Use the yellow dobie pad

to scrub off  bits of

Special K,granola,Cheerios

oatbran,wheat chex.

Leave the pad, take the dishpan.

Throw a towel over your arm

like a waiter in a New York bistro.

Pad back to the bathroom.

Rinse off each plate and mug

spoon and knife

the pan.

Above all, don’t forget the pan.

Lay the folded towel there.

Stack the dishes,

take them home

go about your business.

Repeat.

© 2012 Lynne Viti . All rights reserved. Do not reprint without permission.