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  • Writer's pictureShawn McNulty-Kowal

Notes On The Sponge's Redemption

A friend of mine once called a character from a novel who stayed quiet, contemplative more often than not a “sponge” - what I’m sure she meant by that was she thought the character was useless, all but for the other characters to confide in. Certainly, the sponge might be considered faceless, boring even. But is the sponge not essential in keeping the kitchen space unstained, livable - usable?

A sponge lets someone soak it with their tears, with their love letters that remain unsent or worse yet, unanswered, with their ghosts of mothers passed and grandmothers past, with their lack of sleep, lack of quiet.

Lets that someone ring it out until its wood fibers rip, until it flattens out and resembles more likely a limp, thin stack of wet papers than a plush, absorbent, penetrable thing, until it becomes so wet with dirty water that the inability to stay porous turns it to exile.

Lets that someone dirty it in their kitchen sink until it turns dirty too and useless and absent - pusillanimous.


A sponge - a spinelessly soft, light device of permeable capabilities used - used for washing and cleaning and repairing and drying and picking up the ripped pieces, from the dusty kitchen floor, that belong to jumbled jig-saw puzzles and brushing dust off  the framed glass that bounds together old photographs of smiling and steady breathing, quiet whispers.

A sponge - a flexibly soft, light, but regenerative piece of natural material used - respected for its daring, but quiet sense of self - sense of that, which it bathes in soap suds and warm water and root teas and “tell me more's.”

A sponge - what you always look for and always need to clean the grime with


The sponge - a soft, light, regenerative thing whose cleanliness is expendable, overlooked. A soft, light, dirty thing that is disposed of with clean hands come overuse.

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