Thursday, April 6, 2017

Celebrate #NationalPoetryMonth with Anne Colwell's "In the Ladies' Bathhouse"

In the Ladies’ Bathhouse
      -- Cape Henlopen State Park

Like a rainforest,
                water always drips somewhere

from showerheads, faucets,
                in sinks and toilets,
from breasts and bellies,

coursing rivulets
                down thin brown legs
                                of girls huddled
                                                beside skirt-suited mothers.
Sun through skylights
                and the brick oven
                                of yellow cinderblock bakes,
                                                makes it all steam

dark puddles on the concrete floor
                yellow drops sprinkled on toilet seats
fine webs of drying soap in the porcelain sinks,
                our stink rising with water that rises in the heat:
                                piss, suntan lotion, sweat, sea.

Water in us
                pouring out of us
                                pouring over us

where we have hauled our bodies,
                not quite wholly water,
                                to the sea, the body
of water we cannot wholly bear,
                                we cannot wholly leave.

previously published in Gargoyle #56

Anne Agnes Colwell is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. Her book, Inscrutable Houses: Metaphors of the Body in the Poems of Elizabeth Bishop, was published by the University of Alabama Press in 1997. Her first book of poems, Believing Their Shadows, has been a finalist for the University of Wisconsin's Brittingham Prize, the Anhinga Prize, New Issues Poetry Prize and the Quarterly Review of Literature. Her poems have appeared in several journals, including, most recently, California Quarterly, Evansville Review, Phoebe, Eclectic Literary Forum, Southern Poetry Review, Stickman Review, Poetry Bay, and Writer's Voice

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