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
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.