Dirty dishes in the sink:  
     a tower of Jenga pieces,
          waiting for a full collapse.  
               A nudge can crash it down,
          glass and porcelain
     earsplittingly shattered.  
Clumsy fingers don’t belong.  
     Still every night,
          my hands walk the plank
               and sink into a sea
                    of soap water and food still stuck.  
                         My mother’s kitchen,
                    chattering mere minutes before,
               clashes silence.  
          The TV is my company
               as reruns play on.  
                    I lose myself in the screen,
               watch scenes seen before,
          and the dishes are gone
     from mind.  
Tears of relief drip
     from slippery fingers
          as I break away after commercials.  
               My brother comes home late
          to find a tower half finished,
     me on the couch
trying to escape.  
     But sometimes when
          the whole family has the day
               free of work and school,
                    we eat all our meals
               at the same time
          at this special place,
     and those times alone make
          a simple chore every day
                (and some dishes that break)
                         such a small price to pay.


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