I am doing my dishes
for the first time
taking care not to nick, chip, scratch
the shiny new colors
as they turn in my yellow-gloved hands

The sink is smaller now
the light harsher, more grim
but my hands are just the same
holding the plates and bowls with care
that you seemed to disregard

It is stormy outside
like that day in the Badlands
the picture you chose to define it all
your new paradigm, status, independence
a day with me, and we were happy

I can see your reflection
in the plate’s concentric circles
glinting light off the o’erhead fluorescent
like the cloudbent sun on your glasses
that tumultuous day

I hope you’re happy now
but you’re not, and I’m not sure I mean it
it’s something people say
when they mean it and don’t
and I understand, oh I understand

I love you and hate you
like these dishes
you helped me buy

Your parting gift
as you turned your head, walked away
toward a future you long pictured
but never bothered
to truly see

A sequel to For the Last Time.