Plumbing

I replaced a faucet set on one of my sinks,

the old one having ceased to function.

I don’t know how many times I’ve changed the washers on it.

And that finish, the pristine polished silver of long ago,

well, it was way past hi ho and away,

pitted, scarred, long overdue to be put out to pasture.

After I’d crawled aching and cramped out from the cabinet underneath,

I thought about how when you first put the thing in, it’s shiny and new,

and even though you polish it over the years, in time

a water spot or two leaves a little mark, a thin partial rim memory of itself.

Sadly, that self is a lonely one, needing other water spots to join it,

leave their essences behind in a gesture of solidarity,

congregating, aggregating, for God’s sake really aggravating.

Why can’t water spots be loners or ironically hydrophobic?

Or be obsessive compulsive about cleaning up after themselves?

No, they’re a gregarious bunch, like to party hearty, real ragers.

Before you know it, despite your best efforts to hold back the horde,

the finish on the faucet, the handles, all of it, gone to shit.

You’ll live with it, for a time, as long as you can tolerate the creeping demise,

but eventually the realization comes with mounting distress

that all your visitors can see evidence of your tarnished present and surely more tawdry future.

It’s not like you can go to City Mill all the time and buy faucet sets.

Well, I suppose you could, but not retired folks depending on a pension

and Social Security to add up high enough to cover bills

and leave a little mad money after the monthly blood-letting.

Mad money was not a term created to indicate those funds

should be spent on replacing faltering faucets losing their luster,

rusting and disintegrating before you have time to die ahead of them.

But not this new one, wow, profound, I thought, wiping my sweaty, wrinkled brow.

I realized this would be the last time this sink and I will ever go through this together.

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