Fall 2016 (Volume 20, Issue II): 20th Anniversary Issue
I Dream of...
I DREAM OF TWO OLD WOMEN SOAKING
IN THE BATHTUB OF MY CHILDHOOD HOME
like turkeys in a shallow vat of brine. I am left there, they are left there
to bathe, to chat, to stay out of the way along with a pair of elderly men sifting
through my closet, teetering in a pair of golden velvet chairs, happily spinning
an uncovered Rubik’s cube back and forth between their spindle fingers.
When the women’s thighs and shoulders begin to sprout points like a dead chicken’s
skin, I splash warmth over their feet, dip wash cloths into the growing pool–
drape them steaming over their fleshy arms. They giggle, touch their foreheads
to each other like they have just shared a secret. But then the men, hungry,
protest: What about us?
The woman on the left winks brightly through white curls and pale blue eye,
her index finger like a prong of lightning gesturing toward what I knew all along–
the right faucet dial, the orange cup balanced on the edge of cold tile—I touch
the stream first with my wrists, rinse off the scratched plastic rim, the stale remnants.
The cool water could not satisfy the men’s throbbing bellies like bread or
ripe summer fruit, but sometimes water is the best we can do.