Tradition & Innovation


In all that silence, you could have

laughed—there, wrapped in a white

towel, unadorned and carrying

only what cells mom and dad gave

by chance long long ago.

                                                      You didn’t

cry as you looked down the pale

corridor, always it’s pale for these

solitary walks. Next minute big

feet noiseless into tepid water embracing

parts that had known either burn

or freeze, holding them like goose feather

blankets or somebody else’s mother

who loves you too. 

                                    One more dip, a small

pink thing again turns in rain

water towards the breath of the white

tiles surrounding, one more

prayer and unbounded hair spreads

wide to drink.

                           Quenched, rising, feet

fully massaged at every contact, you

gaped at the unexpected woman

there with you in the room’s glass—

she resembled the brightly threaded wall

hanging that you were scared to look

at in youth in grandma’s bathroom, a nude

heavy breasted woman with uncut auburn

pubic hair and refrigerator hips, her likeness—

suddenly, you.

                                    In all that fullness of

connection, there was nothing there

that wasn’t loved, nothing lacking

that was missed, and nothing more

precious than the soft water, the smooth

tiles, or you. Whatever else reality

mirrored back into your scared green

eyes never provided the unexpected

rapture of what was actually there.


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