Image by Jessica Sosey


the madrigal, volume iii

Domestic Order

by rick magee

When my wife loads the dishwasher

she sticks a handful of silverware

into whatever slot happens to fit.
I do not tell her that you should

put one item in each slot
until all are filled
and then start over again.
It is not necessary to put them

in any particular order—

such as knives, forks, spoons
or spoon spoon spoon fork fork fork knife knife knife— because that would be insane.

The volume on the car stereo
needs to be set on an even number—

ten is good and so is twelve—
but eleven makes my teeth itch.

Fortunately we’ve never had to have

the toilet paper conversation.

I know I’m far from perfect.
I have left clothes on the lid of the hamper

instead of opening it and tossing them inside.

In my defense, they were damp
and I didn’t want them to get mildewed.
And there is the time I tossed out
some necessary correspondence
that was stacked on the kitchen island.
But I look at the kitchen as my domain
and I rule it with a strict but benevolent hand.

And, yes, you can probably count against me

the countless times I have been
impossibly moody, depressed, angry,
and generally hard to live with.
But still, I am really the only one
who scrubs the toilets and
that should count for something.

Rick Magee was raised in California, lives in Connecticut, and dreams of green places and deep water. He studied engineering at UC Berkeley before switching majors to English for the money and prestige. After that, he went on to earn an MA and PhD in English and now teaches at a university in Connecticut. When not under pandemic quarantines, he longs to travel with his wife and young son to Ireland and Italy, where he has taught classes on poetry (Ireland) and food writing (Italy).