'Remain' by Jim Davis-Rosenthal
Remain, Jim Davis-Rosenthal, 1999.



Bathing Susan
Sarah Wolbach


Her body is a reedy boat. The washcloth scarpes her skin like

willow branches against the hull. Even the lightest pressure hurts,

and she weeps. Kneeling beside the tub, I support her neck with one

hand while I shampoo her head with the other. Thin shreds of hair

detach from her scalp and gather in my palm. She bows her head and

rocks a little, forward and back, her withered legs flopping open. Her

vertebrae are little apples softening in the heat, rocks on the river

bottom that shimmer and dissolve in the light, little tumors like the

ones within her, spreading through her lungs and glands like a flood

of mold, a village of tiny fists. Touching her body is like reading

Braille, but nothing is explained. Lifted from the water, she is wood

dripping life, she is air with light bleeding through.







Text © 1996, 1999 by Sarah Wolbach
"Bathing Susan" first appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Volume II, Number 3, and is the Literary Award Nominee for Poetry. The work appears here by permission of the author.

Original Graphic Image, "Remain" © 2000 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal

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