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Two baths.


Lovelier than Susannah who set the elders' hearts groaning at twice their faithful stride, so that each grandfather clutched his breast to remember the beauty of the nude female body, you tilted the pail to plash well-water over stepped terraces of flame-red hair, rivulets snaking down breasts, God-thumbed birth-stain, vulval thatch and

thighs. And I lavished the shampoo as you knelt in the rue anemone, spiraea's windfall stippling burnished skin, lather foaming through my fingers, foaming shut your eyes as you took me in your mouth, the sun bearing witness to our BRA intuitive coupling, till I tipped the pail to rinse our fallen flesh, let our imperfections glisten.


Light roused us from the depths of our seperate longings and while I balanced buckets you laced black sneakers for your morning run on the cliff, wrapped the red ribbon of shirt around your forehead, stretched stiff calf muscles, then ran off. I could see you jog the beach as I arranged notebooks, pens, on the marble table, then begin the zigzagging goat-path toward the crag overlooking our stone cottage, your red rag still visible against the rough, anaemic marble of the mountain. Remember the undressing, how I slipped off your Nikes, peeled each slick of cotton, then unknotted the sweatband and dipped that tatter into the icy water, sponge pressed between your breasts, your legs, the tenderness between us before the sex turned sour?-- before your six miles became a more-than-tacit withdrawal, like sleep, or head-phoned jazz, so I'd watch you crest the hill as I worked at the marble table, wrenching lines, syllables, the diminishing sweatband a raw wound in the distance, as I revised draft after draft, prodding you past the horizon, writing you out of existence.
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Author:Waters, Michael
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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