Alone in the old bathroom, I crouched,
steaming, in a towel, the warmth
of a recent bath rising from my skin;
long childhood locks lifted in a plastic cap.
While grown-ups thought I bathed, I took a brush
and scrubbed the bath to new. I drew with crayons
made of soap. And wondering what it was to shave,
cut my leg on Dad’s sharp razor blade.
Bath time brought adventure: a metal rack
packed with loofah, sponge, a blue dish
to fill and empty, clean and crinkled fingers
rubbed together with rudish shlucking sounds.
At school, where girls combined to wash,
communal ablutions diluted any sense of fun;
privacy and prudery washed away in timetabled
titivation. All residue of childhood Vimmed.
When chemo winter stole my hair and I was cold,
my constant comfort was a simple bath of tin,
filled from the kitchen sink. Lapped by life
I could be consoled by water, spirited again.
Five years feeding, oh
sweet love with needy fingers:
growing up is tough.
Slugs his way to school,
lagging; lugging a back pack:
Our boy is crossing
over roads he doesn’t know:
sees but a hard place.
His angel arrives
hot with exasperation:
in a scratched black car.
Those troubles tumble
beneath his great potential:
plugging a sinkhole.
Down he falls, silent;
mum screaming Get Up, Get Up:
always a slowcoach!
Grit in our eyelids,
we kneel down at the roadside:
and the traffic slows.