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“Please don’t put them in there like that,”
I said for the umpteenth time
as you helped me load the dishwasher.
But after so many recitations
of my objections over the years,
all logic for my protests had been lost
in the background noise of our life together.
And you continued to stack the dishes
in the dysfunctional dishwasher
any old way, knowing full well
they wouldn’t get clean.

I straightened up
and looked at you
with new eyes,
for it occurred
to me just then
that our relationship
is much the same.
I tell you what I feel,
what I need,
how I wish it would be for us,
but you don’t hear.
Or, if you do,
you don’t take me seriously.
You go right on relating
as if what I’ve said
holds no significance for you.

Are we on different life-planes
after all these years,
or have I just told you so often
that these words, too,
have lost their meaning?

Well, perhaps it’s finally time
to get a new dishwasher.
I wish our relationship problems
could be as easily remedied.