30 May
"Dishes" sketch by Violet Nesdoly

“Dishes” sketch by Violet Nesdoly


She stands at the enamel dishpan
prune hands in warm water
little robot of wash   rinse   stack
looks out the window
as clouds scud from the west
thinks, I hope it doesn’t rain.
Dad’s uptight enough,
smells this morning’s cookies fresh from the oven
thinks about mixing them
and what’s in the cupboard …

Soon immersed
in a concoxious experiment
of baking soda, vinegar
green coloring, salt
and reaching for the corn starch
she’s Mom-caught in the act.
“What are you doing?
Water’s cold, soap’s dead!
No wonder dishes take you
all afternoon!”

© 2013 Violet Nesdoly

This is a memory poem. I grew up in a large family, the oldest of nine kids. Washing dishes was a big by-hand job that took forever anyway. Might as well make it fun with a little scientific diversion. Did any of you do stuff like that?

poetry+friday+button+-+fulllThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Betsy H. at Teaching Young Writers.


Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Kids, Personal, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , , ,

10 responses to “Dishes

  1. mattforrest

    May 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I’m an only child, but doing dishes and baking were a big part of m y life nonetheless…and this did, indeed, bring back memories!


    • Violet Nesdoly

      May 31, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Thanks Matt! Good training that–doing dishes, right? If nothing else, it gave one lots of time for day-dreaming.


  2. jama

    May 31, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I love this one, Violet! Dishes and kitchen talk :). Gazing out the window while doing dishes is a favorite pastime though I’ve never washed quite as many dishes as you have all in one go. Never seen “concoxious” in a poem before either. Pass me a fresh cookie.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      May 31, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Thank you, Jama! The worst times were when I had to wash the cream separator after all those dishes. All I can say is, I’m now so thankful for plentiful hot water that comes out of the tap.

      As for ‘concoxious’ – I made it up. Is that allowed?


  3. haitiruth

    May 31, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Oh, that brought back memories. I remember dishes taking me HOURS as a kid.


  4. Jeff@NC Teacher Stuff

    June 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I like concoxious! Playing with language is part of the fun of poetry writing. Thanks for bringing back the memories for me as well.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      June 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Well said, Jeff: “Playing with language is part of the fun of poetry writing.” Thanks for dropping by!


  5. Liz Steinglass

    June 2, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Fortunately, my sister and I just had to clear but somehow she always seemed to be in the bathroom while I was doing the work.


  6. Betsy

    June 2, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Robotic, yes. Dishes were also my job growing up and I remember the excitement of a dishwasher joining our family. I still dislike doing dishes more than any other job though, dishwasher or not. I think doing dishes as a child is somehow a traumatic experience we’d all like to forget. 😉



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