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Rachel Valente

The Truth of Lemon Dish Soap


In this kitchen,

Which revolves around only you and me,

The world is composed of simple truths.

It is late.

We are tired.

You sit in your body and

I sit in mine.

We talk—

The worries of daytime

Smoothed by the tides of great conversation,

And the truth of understanding

Is exchanged across the table

With less effort than it takes

To pass the salt.

When you wash the dishes,

I stand next to you to dry them,

Watching your hands scrub in circles;

The truth of lemon dish soap and nightly ritual is rinsed down the sink.


In this kitchen,

The night moves slow, like Sunday mass.

It’s as if the tightly stretched timeline of our lives

Has gone slack,

Just for a moment.

The truth

Of easy silence

Hangs between breath and word,

Is caught in the brushing of knees and shoulders.

It almost feels like saying too much

But I say it anyway because

How can I not?

And for some reason, you let me.

It takes no convincing.

It demands no proof.

How lovely this is,

Our tightrope slow dance,

Our midnight waltz from opposite sides of the kitchen table.

To think

That someone else has been so human all this time—

Is something I had known

But did not believe,

And which is truer to me now

Than the scent of lemon dish soap.

Rachel Valente, originally from Buffalo, is a junior at SUNY Oswego studying English and creative writing. She has two cats named Agatha and Poe (after the writers of course), and is a proud bookseller at the River’s End Bookstore.

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