View from the Bath
Water wakes from silence, absorbing the shape
of my body. The hot and cold currents caress
until everything is liquid, and I float
weightless as the dawn. And afterwards,
I sit alone in the garden with the violet irises
and lilacs, the goldfish in the fountain,
all of us calm within the landscape.
A voice whispers to me across water.
A bouquet in white, in blue, in orange,
it overflows the fountain
leaving behind stunned goldfish.
Their dark eyes press against mine.
Their lips mouth words I have forgotten in water,
words I had given back to water,
and the memory of the gray streets
where the scent of oleanders in bloom
was a fresh canvas. Night hadnt saved me.
When they threw cabbage-stalks and black pears
at my head because it had been shaved,
and jeered at the ribbons, sometimes yellow,
sometimes blue, decorating my hat,
what could I do except vanish
into the shadows of the yellow house
and linger there.
Later I walk beyond the red garden walls
to see spring wheat at sunrise, the moss-green roofs;
I forget the seizures, almost seasonal,
always violet. I forget my doctors diagnosis
and the times when my body grows heavier than my soul,
squeezing until the light and earth fall away.
Itís a month since the last, expected attack,
but Im patient. Sitting before the easel
I watch the goldfish in the afternoon shadows.
The wind across the fountain takes me in.
It whispers like the neighbors
who are all watching from their windows, waiting
for me to swallow the burnt sienna, the yellow
that was to have been a field, or the red and blue
that might have exhausted a canvas with dawn.
In half as many windows there is the light of eyes.
In the wind theres the shape of an orchard
and the motion of water. And on my tongue
the oil made from juniper berries and clay.
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