Making coffee, I noticed crumbs coming

from underneath the old toaster which

sits impatiently waiting for the occasional

English muffin, fresh bagel, frozen waffle

or more often than not, wholegrain bread,

tucked next to the butter knife and butter dish

in a botanical design of my husband's choosing.

Who could know the only item in our wedding registry

would outlive him, not to forget the knife set

complete with blade sharpener, tomato slicer,

four of six steak knives wooden handles slowly rotting

used for almost everything except the rare London Broil.

I unplugged the toaster, disturbing two spiders who

I was surprised to see were living below the black rubber base.

Upside down shaking the toaster showered all shades of brown

to black, this given to me secondhand by my neighbor

who raised ten children, back when bread was delivered.

How many of these burnt bits are mine, my face intent

reflecting my wrinkles back to me as the sun points out

just how much polishing needs doing with elbows,

assorted cleaning products, scrubbers, and cloths.

My hands work together as if creating in cool clay

while lovingly restoring glory to this old appliance

so easily pleased by a mere thirty minutes or more

of somebody, anybody, my touching caress and attention.

I certainly didn't intend for the tea kettle

to feel slighted, its dull copper wanting to shine

but such is the way of older things brought out

instead of buying something new, destined by design

only to deteriorate daily, the absolute obscenity

of downright deliberately planned obsolescence.

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