Bathing Amid Danger
Garments shed, five layers, a bullet
Now he is thin:
Ribs jutting, the hips, a canoe’s middle,
The legs, something to be swum, the wrists
Too fluid for shackles…
In the tub he’s almost invisible.
Smell warmth, languorous.
Smell lanky skin,
Mild, pliant on arms…
Fingers dip under.
Steam slips from waves, skims air…
Here, he’s as much without gravity,
The bathroom a moon element…
Lids close, dreams press out
The ceiling: geese & clouds reflected
About bony shins, elbow crooks…
Canals & dark gondoliers…
Straw hats shield their eyes.
Long staffs work the current,
Frozen now, an Edward Hopper scene,
Lush but remote…
Hear pan pipes beginning?
It’s a solitary fanfare, some song nearly
Broken but sustained by notes…
Level after level, this is his voice rising…
Trickles bead from limbs, the neck’s hollow,
The swirling hair presently lifted, wrung out,
Damp black from a back
Unaware of its nakedness or what armor
This water music needs.
A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short collage-films and sound-collage downloads. If you have the time feel free to Google the words "Stephen Mead Art" for various links to his multi-media work. Oh yes, and he works a day job.
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