I Float in my Bath


I float in my bath
Buoyed by stark white suds and heat
Rising under me, both
Pushing upwards the things that would sink if
They had their way:
My body surely,
My thoughts likely,
My spirits seemingly,
My life, my life….
(Not I—but “people”)
Through misguided neatness
Climb into bath tubs to cut themselves
With intent to drain their blood.
That is curious. If
They filled the tub with white foamy suds beforehand
I doubt they would proceed.
The red would clash with the pure whiteness
In shocking juxtaposition,
Causing interest in the contrast,
Distracting from the deed.
(My white beard merges with the foam as I rest back my head. They are of a single color: no color at all.)
My bath is my vessel
Carrying all my present vices:
Time stolen from tasks.
Time to drink strong Italian wines; an Amarone perhaps….
Time to smoke my cigar, door closed against complaints.
Time to look at the dirt lifting noiselessly off my hands and feet and buttocks and arms and legs and organs, repulsed by where they started, fleeing the tawdry me, leaving me pure again, able to accumulate more, baser vices.
I was thinking, in my bath
About growing old.
I was thinking, in my bath
About dying.
I was thinking about the funerals I now often attend.
They compel breaking obligations you would never otherwise break,
Such is the pull of these things.
My friend said to me, at his bereavement,
Burying his wife of decades,
He was like an actor in someone else’s play,
Given a role, but no script was provided.
I nodded.
Not much to say, after all.
Now my oldish skin puckers and soaks,
Revealed bruised and freckled as the little bubbles cool and pop.
It is not pretty.
The cigar rasps, the air gelid with its smarmy smoky steamy stuff.
The wine burns my throat where the smoke has raked the flesh into raw hidden furrows.
I would like to get out of my bath.
I am done with my bath.
My bath no longer pleases me.
I drop my cigar into the water and watch it float and hiss.
I set my glass aside, a few red drops plopping into the now-thinned foam.
I push up to rise.
But cannot. I have no strength. I must
Roll over and kneel and grasp the sides
And gently slowly evenly ponderously raise myself.
My soapy feet slide back. I have no traction.
I am trapped it seems. On my knees
No less.
My house seems empty. I sense no help.
I know this feeling.