The copper pot was ruined,
discolored and dull.
All the polish in the world
wouldn't make it shine again.
How many times 
had she told him
not to put it in the dishwasher?
Yet there it was,
in the dishwasher—again.

Her friends told her
she should be happy,
that at least he tried to help.
She tried,
she really tried,
but the last time he tried to help
(and she used the term lightly)
she found the beautiful blown glass swizzle sticks,
with the crystal Mr. and Mrs. on the top,
that her favorite aunt had given them 
as a wedding gift,
shattered at the bottom of the machine.
She cried when she picked out the pieces.
To make matters worse,
she cut her hand and needed three stitches.

How hard was it to load a dishwasher properly?
He wasn't stupid—he had two engineering degrees;
It wasn't rocket science, for goodness sake. 
She didn't understand why it was such a problem.

For a while she wondered 
if he was making these stupid mistakes on purpose,
so she'd tell him she'd take care of it,
but he wasn't that devious.
And he was so sorry about his failings,
he even had tears in his eyes 
when he took her to the ER for the stitches.

She emptied the dishwasher, 
wondering if she dared let him near the washing machine,
and thanked heaven there were no major appliances in their bedroom.

~Elise Skidmore ©2023

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