Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ode to My Kitchen Counter

After rubbing you dry
with a dish towel
I step back and admire
your smooth, clean yellowness
True, it’s not a color
I would have chosen
had I the choice
but there you are

Sometimes, I realize,
I neglect you
and on Sunday morning
you wear the remnants
of Friday night’s nachos
and beer
Saturday’s dirty dishes
A few more cans
and a dried spaghetti noodle
or two

It is at those times of neglect
that I hate
your color
the most

It doesn’t go well with the scraps
of yesterday’s meals
that piece of tomato
those shreds of cheddar
coffee grounds

It seems that the worse you look
the more I neglect you
and soon
piled high with the refuse
and remains
of my culinary exploits
you begin to call out
to me
and tug at the corner
of my eye
as I try
nonchalantly to slip past
into the living room
that you are a stranger
a poor unfortunate
down-on-its luck
and my spare change
won’t really help

But then, on Sunday night
when I try to push
your hodge-podge
into the sink
the drain board
the ghetto
in order to make room
for my newest creation
you rise up
grab me
by both shoulders
and shake
me, shouting, “No more!”

Only then do I see
you are no stranger
no derelict
of the street
who I can pass by
casually feeling nothing

Only then do I see
that through the faintly fetid smell
of old produce
and the three-day
coffee ground stubble
and the helter-skelter wardrobe
of bowls
and spoons
is my old friend
my long-time companion
who, though having a few chips
and rough edges
is very near to me
and who deserves my love
and care
and who deserves
at the very least
to be cleared
and cleaned
and rubbed dry
so that your unique color
not saffron
not golden rod
not lemon
not mustard
not flaxen, canary
not ochre
nor any other shade
or hue
called yellow
may shine through

And as I admire
you, my kitchen Pygmalion
I realize
that if I had the choice
would remain

--May 12, 1993

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