They are so busy and self-involved as I hear them muttering in the distance
that they strike me sometimes as sheer marvels:
the dishwasher filling its huge blue gullet—a cluck from the timer,
and spindly wings spew out scalding water in the dark—
or its basement cousin chugging yet another load through the changes,
whirling, rocking, belching gray suds and lint into the concrete washtubs.
Though I can never keep track of them all, I'm charmed by the cycles:
their varied lengths, sudden shifts and rigorous sense of time,
the control knob simple as a windup clock, language of click and whir,
mysterious pauses while something is draining or filling,
or silence even while something is gathering strength.
There's a music in these risings and failings—odd rest, crescendo, diminuendo—
the soothing predictable pattern of potential and release.