Gratitude: a sink of dirty dishes

20170818_203413Last night was punctuated by uneasy dreams, tears, and wonderings. What can I do to ease the pain of another?

Instead of running, I opened the windows to let the cool fresh air in
and abundant allergens
and decided the dishes needed more attention than a run.

A ballad by the Avett Brothers has been making the rounds in my thoughts since Charlottesville and swung by in the night for a one-song marathon. Ballad of Love and Hate is about two lovers – all of us.

I padded into the kitchen – ponytailed and sundressed and started the coffee, watered the plants on the porch, and filled the sink.

Only a moment ago did I see how much I had to celebrate.
I am in my own tiny home washing dishes.
A bill to pay – which I can.
A job to get ready for – which still stands – strong.

My dishes, bills, job, laundry, car, friends, home, neighbors, and so much more are intact
neither washed away in a flood of panic
or a wave of indifference
or angry seas.

I stand where a vacuum and mop need to travel
but no shovel
to remove the scum and silt of the bay from my home

Grief I feel is kindred to compassion
and loneliness.
A commitment made over soapy dishes
a tupperware bowl forgotten and pungent

to do what I can
when I can
with what I have
for neighbors in Houston, Mumbai, Nigeria
around the corner.

Not just the sensational today.
But the quiet tomorrow.
and this scares me
This commitment to love

To refuse to stand aside

to do what I can
when I can
with what I have.

I am afraid of what this will mean
to my time
loneliness and
comfort zone.

These things are better in good company.
Will you brave ones take me by the hand
lend me your courage?
so I can act


an offering of love over hate.


6 thoughts on “Gratitude: a sink of dirty dishes

  1. Hi Allie! It’s Roxane (Fagan) Bowden. We used to play soccer together when I lived in Manhattan. I remember when you saw me walking to work (because I didn’t have a car) and you said you would give me an extra bike you had. And you did. And that bike took me to work, to the grocery store, to the doctor, to the Linear Trail with friends, to LABCo. It and you truly impacted my life in a positive way. Don’t be scared of your “commitment to love”, to do what I can when I can with what I have “. It is who you are. Just being you is an offering of love over hate! P.S. I love your writing. It continues to remind of the beautiful people in this world.


      1. Hi Allie – I loved that apartment! I’m currently in North Carolina. I left Manhattan in 2005 and moved to NC with Pete. We were married in 2006 and moved to the DC area in 2008. We’re now back in NC and will be here until 2019 as far as we know (the Army can be unpredictable sometimes!). We celebrated 10 years of marriage last year and life is good! Speaking of bikes, Pete tuned up my new bike up last week and I’m really looking forward to my first ride of the year (which is almost over!). Better late than never!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Allie, this writing needs to be published in the editorials. Thank you –
    An encouragement and awakening:
    to do what I can
    when I can
    with what I have
    Your writing encourage to live life and get out of ones comfort zone to really live life!

    Liked by 1 person

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