Is when neither of us washes

the dishes that sit caked

with this morning’s oatmeal and crusted

with enchilada sauce from dinner last night.

It’s when twenty-four hours pass

since the last time the stainless bowl

of the sink was thickly frosted

with lemony-bubbles and steamy water.

One day’s worth of mugs ringed

with coffee, glasses clouded with beer foam residue,

and juice cups textured with orange pulp.

Peanut butter has taken residence on a knife

and several spoons have refused

to succumb their puddles

of soymilk, sugar granules, and

strawberry rhubarb jam.

And you and I silently resist,

each on strike from dish duty

this one night

negotiating one day off of easy cleaning

for time together on the couch.

Tomorrow will there be space to chop cucumbers

and avocados

or will the cutting board and morning

cereal bowls have taken over,

reminding us we still must serve the time

we traded the night before.



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