Pond, Clayton. “The Kitchen in My Former Studio.” 1968.

Pond, Clayton. “The Kitchen in My Former Studio.” 1968.

the light is out above the kitchen sink,
so cleaning is harder.
this thing is true;
the light is out above the worktable of my heart,
attempting surgery in the dark.
soap, water, brush, rinse.
air dry.

later, on the drying rack
dishes are still dirty.
this lack of light, unbearable.
more soap, more scrub; no difference.
there are always bits left behind
and I must wash again.

oh, to stop scrubbing
my own heart
and let Love
wash it clean.
no bits left behind
although the light is still out.
a perfect clean,
although the light is out.

I stumbled across this, written over a year ago, as I was searching my archives for the perfect first post for The Mustard Seed Conspiracy. At the time I wrote it, I was living in a house whose kitchen boasted but one single light, two bulbs, in the center of the ceiling. On dark winter evenings, I’d wash my dishes and think them clean, only to wake up the next morning and see them in the light - still dirty. My weary disgusted-ness at gross bits of old food are how I feel when I discover my flaws resurfacing time and time again, no matter how I try to amputate them. The annoyance of re-washing dishes over and over mimics my continual frustration at being human, at my endless attempts to get it right and the mistaken feeling that perhaps I could, if only I could see a little better.

The last stanza reflects my best hope for myself: that I could live as God sees me, relaxing into His love and letting it cover over my multitude of sins.