When I Craved a Vision of Kahlo in the Bath
Terri Brown-Davidson

When I was fatter, our peeling gray bathtub constricted my thighs.
And candlelight dimmed the machinations of a mind
that had shrugged off a philosophy department
in a dim fit of ambivalence I’d once dubbed “thought”
though now I sought cupcakes to stretch the void
I’d approximated in my Hunger for Self-Knowledge
but which now drifted lower, from starlight to cerebellum
to baglike expanding stomach, I the Brown-Davidson
gone primitive as a stegosaurus
clambering toward her own Ice Age,
I the dinosaur in a Philosophy Department gone epiphanic
with quantum theorems and unresolvable propositions
that kept us all pacing and manically jazzed till predawn,
I the snack-sneaking scapegoat,
the odd platypus out
but relieved to be shedding epistemology
for a life full of joyful house-chaos
and thoughts wound like messy balls of yarn
the baby batted before essaying
my dirty big toes for a possible snack,
cannibalism a ripped route to self-knowledge
compared to the anal-retentive wholeness I’d sought
in deeper consciousness
when what I craved was a bathtub
that would clasp me like Skinner’s box,
a vision of Kahlo’s disparate selves
skittering manic-depressive toward the drain.

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