Overextended (Written October 20, 2017)

Overextended

She sighs and straightens her back.
She’s taken on too much, again.
For more than an hour now
she’s been chopping, slicing, mixing,

Measuring, sifting, and stirring,
focused on what needs to be done,
rather than what she can do with some
semblance of enjoyment. The contraption
for peeling and coring apples malfunctions,

Digging too deep, cutting away too much
of the white, juicy flesh. The zucchini,
which had seemed so firm on the outside,
two mornings ago when she bought it,
is soft and mushy inside. The onion

Keeps slipping from her grasp
as she chops. The gas makes her eyes
water and sting. What else can go wrong,
she asks herself, when she cuts her finger,
in a careless moment. But she is not ready

To call for help. Once she makes up her mind
there’s very little that will get her to admit
defeat. She cleans the cut, stanches the wound,
and looks forward to sitting down at table,
when she’ll be able to present the hoped-for dish

To her guest, see the look of gratitude in his eyes,
and feel she’s done the best that she could,
which in the past, as she remembers it,
was all that anyone every wanted.

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