An Afternoon Bath

by William B. Caldwell

to wash away the mud of yard work.
Near my tub a house plant
mother-in-law tongue
in a red clay vase. Its tongues
tilt to lick light.

A hand held mirror
my eyes under drooping soffits,
jelly of the middle. Any ordinary soul.
Like Narcissus gazing in a pond—long as the wind is still
and carp don’t jump to bite an ear.
Pour of hot water

fills the room as I sink into my bath.
A friend visits in a dream. She extends her hand
           Orphans know each other well

Step onto a rug with me
slippery wet skinned—all gone with a swipe.

Bill Caldwell lives in Asheville, North Carolina. He is a mostly retired nurse and marriage and family therapist. His interest in poetry was heightened by reading poetry to a friend dying of AIDS. Poetry sustained his friend during his last days. Bill has been reading and writing poetry since then.

About An Afternoon Bath—This poem was inspired by a dream about a visit from another deceased friend. I hope in the poem to use Lorca’s concept of duende, a concept used in our recent class.