By Richard LeDue


Learned too late in life
how we aren't supposed to
fill pots with hot tap water
before we boil them,
but my younger self 
believed in this time saving
brilliance, before accepting
sometimes being cold


Smiles among dishwater bubbles
seem to tell lies about everything
being alright,
while 1970's chain smoking wives
try to forget the coupons they forgot at home
standing in line at the supermarket,
pretending the canned goods 
and all the other things for sale
don't remind them of strange men 
they never noticed until an unwelcomed
“hello,” meant to mean something
more to the men than being polite.


The leaky pipe under my kitchen sink
could easily be a metaphor for how
we swallow too much in life,
only to eventually crack or rust or degrade
in the appropriate way,
but the alternative would be the sort of dryness
that hydrates mirages on our deathbeds
about the things we wish we never said.


The water going down the drain
is a kind of miracle,
if you want something to pray to
other than the usual gods,
who are above dirty dishes
left over night that keep you awake
because you were always taught
an empty sink important
as a clean soul.


It's impossible to drown in a glass of water,
yet I watch the faucet as if my kitchen 
a widow's walk, and wonder why the sunset
seems more at home on the wrong side
of my Venetian blind, or why fishers 
believe it bad luck to photograph their boats
on those mornings when I manage
to leave my house, 
especially considering how my anxiety
long ago mastered the dead-man's float
inside whatever fluids erode 
the beaches of my mind.

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