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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Lenore Weiss
 

Lenore Weiss' new poetry collection, "Two Places" is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.  She currently teaches a memoir class at Ouachita Parish Library in Monroe, Louisiana. Her blog resides at www.lenoreweiss.com

Body Scrubber of the Bath House

Ottoman Dome curved above our wet bodies,

the first time I saw you,

your breasts hung naked,

two gunny sack badges

from nursing children and men's sorrows.

You wore them proudly, offered me directions.

 

Lady. There. Go. 10 minutes.

 

I was stretched on a red towel.

my back pressed against the milky marble.

 

You told me your Turkish name meant flower or happy,

and turned your face away as if you were not telling the truth.

 

Then you started to work me over,

tossed brass bowls of lukewarm water down my back,

over my head, scrubbed me hard from the heat, my sweat,

let me feel shreds of my dead skin,

washed me like my mother.

 

You were not afraid to touch the scar

running down the middle of my belly,

 

scrubbed behind my ears, slapped my back,

eased my body between your thighs and held me there, wet.

I found your cave of warmth and leaned into it.

I was your baby.  You could've done anything to me.

 

Lady. You go. There.

 

I crawled on my stomach, face down,

breathed marble, steam, dome

cupped against my back.
I was a specimen butterfly pinned to your lap.

 

Then the body scrubber of the bath house, sang,

notes curved in the air,

calligraphy from an empire

and its attendant women.

 

Everything went black.

 

 

Copyright, Lenore Weiss.
All Rights Reserved.