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The Wisdom of Doing Dishes: poems by Juan Pablo Mobili

Photo: pots and pans, including cast iron pans, hanging in a kitchen, image by Ernest Roy, on Pixabay, modified.

pots and pans, image by Ernest Roy, on Pixabay, modified

The Wisdom of Doing Dishes

Endeavoring to find some passion

for what I deem mundane

I fail to find room in my heart

for this one cast iron pan—

the stubborn specks of a burned pork chop

like barnacles determined to stick to a ship’s hull.

Here I am, standing before a sink

as deep as the Grand Canyon,

staring at a cast iron black hole,

wrestling with my ambition to mean

something, while the dishes are not done

and the garbage bag is full,

obsessed with what is crucial to my destiny,

as the mundane goes on playing card tricks.


My Occupation

Sitting to write an epic poem

denouncing an empire, I watch

my granddaughters chasing

bubbles in the garden

and I can’t help surrendering

my outrage to the probability of joy.

As I now decide to start an ode

I catch a glimpse on my TV

of thousands leaving countries

devastated by war,

and sonnets grow thorns

and ghazals shatter like bubbles.

This poem is not meant

to be a tour of my spirit

nor the dictum of my soul,

but only a sincere invitation:

Here’s my imperfect heart,

may I see yours?


Juan Pablo Mobili was born in Buenos Aires, and adopted by New York. His poems appear or will

be appearing in The American Journal of Poetry,

Hanging Loose Press, South Florida Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, Impspired (UK), The Wild Word (Germany), and Otoliths (Australia), among others.

His work received an Honorable Mention from the International Human Rights Art Festival, and multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His chapbook, “Contraband,” was published in 2022, and he’s the Guest Editor for The Banyan Review’s

Spring 2023 issue.

October 2023 Issue

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