Like an old emotional contraction at the heart,
the blades on the garbage disposal machine
inside the kitchen sink are stuck again.
I gingerly reach my hand down the narrow sink hole
to fish for some relative truth, only to discover
wry intimations of the absolute – that truth
which cannot be spoken, even under the breath,
because to do so would sound like a curse,
and that would probably not be helpful.
Mazie calmly suggests we have some breakfast first,
but who could manage to eat, knowing all along
that there is a stubborn mechanical knot
at the core of our very sink?
Various hopeful strategies are attempted,
then repeated, then once again, but the fixation
will not yield — the disposal blades won’t budge.
Apparently, unless I make such efforts,
I won’t be convinced that sticking my hand
down the sink hole and trying to move the blades
by my own power will fail to get me anywhere.
Thus, I go to my tool box, humbled, and dig around
for a big wrench, the kind experienced people use
when their hands alone are proven inadequate
for the plumbing job before them.
I wedge the wrench into the hole and attempt
to leverage it against the blades, to dislodge
whatever obstruction has somehow befallen
the hapless machine, but alas, to no avail.
An image comes to mind of standing behind a plumber
who fixes the problem in 30 seconds and charges me
$70 for the service call, so I resume my practice
of not identifying with thoughts, and instead
use the steel tool to bang on the blades,
with predictable results.
At this point, a mature student of the perennial wisdom
would pause, relax, and perhaps notice a ripe strawberry
hanging from a nearby vine, but all I see before me
is our canary, perched in his cage over the sink,
slyly mocking me for my impotent display.
Realizing now that I have nothing to lose
(except maybe my fingers if there is an electrical anomaly),
I resolutely plunge my hand back down the sink hole,
grasp the blades with the fabled no-mind strength
that comes from reading too many Zen books,
and give them one more mighty push.
(a cool Tibetan expletive for wonder and amazement)
the blades are slightly moving, and so I turn on
the hot water and flip the disposal switch –
the old familiar grinding noise resounds,
startling the canary, but prompting
a congratulatory exclamation
Now at last we can fix breakfast,
and the canary bursts forth in song!