The Bath

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audio of Ann M. Thompson's poem, The Bath

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Ann M. Thompson

The Bath


      Leaning to test the water,
      I notice them:
      quivering, small,
      no longer firm.

      Buoys of breath and pulse,
      desire—but not
      of primitive supply.

      Not rich with the urgent
      swell of time. Tactile, rigid,
      laced with a livid blue
      like rivers on a map.
             Not that.

      I settle back
      and trail a finger
      in the tub,
      study the belly
      that fumbled life
      like a soapy glass
      to a marble floor.

      The cool, hard lip
      exhales sweet steam
      like milky breath.
      I shut my eyes,
      inhale it to the core

      and slowly release
      to the salt-warm pool.

      It is a body,
      feminine enough,
      and still
      comparatively new—

      even at forty,
      even despite
             or with
      the empty rooms.


Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, 2017 ▪ Finalist