Dishes by Tanya Standish McIntyre

Poem name: Dishes Poet name: Tanya Standish McIntyre Poem: The women stood with their hands  in the water, their backs to the voices, other  messes—sometimes  glancing at what lay out the window, or for some not a window, but a mirror they could check in for improved or worsened lines—sometimes  for after, there was an Avon hand-cream  dispenser, in the shape of a bird  or an ear of corn.   The women stood with their hands  in the water, in all kinds of weather  (except lightning)—sometimes they hurried to be finished for the next task or  just to sit down—most often they were unaware  of the dishes, beyond the deeming of dirty or clean, and sometimes they stood there,  with slowed deliberation, so feelings  could arrange into acceptable  phrases before turning to face  the room. Sometimes   things broke down  there, and cut them in the murky  water; sometimes it would not go down  even by the will of the plunger—sometimes  their rings slipped off from the soap,  and their hands were strange  and nervous, but a thing  they never, ever did, regardless  of their age or the hour, was to get  into bed before their sink was  empty, dried, and polished. End of poem.  Credits and bio: Copyright © Tanya Standish McIntyre  Previously published in Anthology: Emergence: 24 Contemporary Women Poets of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, edited by Angela Leuck. Tanya Standish McIntyre is a poet and visual artist living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Her debut collection, The House You Are Born In, is forthcoming in McGill-Queens University Press’s Hugh MacLennan Poetry Series in Fall ‘22. Drawing upon memories of her early years on an ancestral farm, an early review calls it: “A stunning debut by a promising new poetic voice, haunting and uplifting in equal measure.”  Visit her website at