Identification and Jonquil by Barbara Brush
Let’s say, for the sake
of discussion, that you weigh
yourself against the wall, that what bears
most of you is your left shoulder.
And you’re heavy, relative to the point
of contact, but not so much
that you slide, though your skin
is slick, the air rich with steam.
No, you remain standing, wait
while the drops cleanse you same as
they always do: halfway. What’s the rate
of erosion on the human body? How long
would you have to stay here to shed
all these layers? A strand of hair,
not your natural color, snakes
past your collarbone, escaping.
Let it go. Carry with you only
what you must. Some dirt, some fluid,
bubbles form a glaze that shimmers
as it loops around the drain.
Daylight through the pixilated window
makes you transparent: you raise your hand,
mesmerized by its network of tiny veins.
Is your body reinvented, perfect,
stain-free? Close enough. You step out.
Say the fog on the glass blurs your face,
but you have what you need.
A thick towel, soft, a pretty shade
of green. Say you take time, inhale,
dry yourself with great care,
tenderness; measure your pulse. Say
I’m making all of this up. Is this your image,
your heartrate? Do we know each other?
No twisted leaves, no tangled
mass of stems, you stand upright
and tiny, a perfectly edited
success story: no space
for errors, you hold your form
with more precision
than a Dickinson poem. Color
my coffee table, overpower
the strongest coffee: Sentry,
you never sleep, your one
wide eye expectant, fierce
in the zero hour, listening.
Strip me to the core,
the essence, and I can’t say
what’s left but you
thrive here: have shrugged off
all distraction, jewelry.
The foreign temperature
of human fingertips
will bruise your petals –
who would dare,
respectfully, to touch you?
dazzle me, push
me out of February where I’m tired
of dwindling. Sunspot,
illuminate the plane on this dark earth
where I’m to rise, where I’m
to plant my feet.