Type
Poetry

Your Bath

Your bath is generous, impersonal,
whitely curved, bloated with self-importance and
scummed with a delicate rim of grime.
There are scratches in the bottom from careless
cleaning, cluttered shampoo bottles with last leavings,
half-inches of pearlescent fluid; hairs
of all thicknesses and lengths; and dust,
and fluff from fresh-washed towels, and striped
sunshine.

I have left blood, skin, tears, in your bath,
every cadence of my voice, sudden laughter.
I have been ill, heaved coughing mucus out of heavy lungs,
pissed dark streams after dark dreams
into the cold porcelain of thoughtless hungover mornings
while soaping moody feet.
I have stood, washed, picked,
scratched away at myself, rubbed skin and hair
off my body, scraped
razorblades past urgent throbbing veins on
marble-white, deforested skin,
to be smooth, left the short bristled leavings of
ablution curved in gentle interrogatives
around the plughole.

I have left songs in your bath, so-fa-lahs
and tumpty-tums, mellow chords and gentle hums,
the echoes of our mingled voices spilling in generous swirls around
and around and into the drain.
I have cried in caught moments of pure and blazing passion,
in joy, in utter despair,
wrung out my heart into the sponge and the towel,
curled gasping, fishlike, flank to flank with its porcelain sides while
eddies of cooler water pool about my thighs
and streams run into
and out of
my eyes.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Fiona Yardley is a writer, editor, and cultural worker in Sydney.

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