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Sponge Bath

Every night at 7 p.m.,
(like clockwork),
the ragged washcloth
appears in her hand.
I stand, naked,
on the cold linoleum floor,
my clothes tossed
into the ringer washer.
"That's a bruise, momma,"
as she tries to scrub it off.
"You're so dirty,
I can't tell the bruises
from the dirt."
(I'm shivering cold).
"How the hell did you
get a bruise there?"
(as if she didn't know)
The dampness from
the cloth stings my flesh
as it mixes
with the cold air.
My mind drifts...
to Saturdays.
when my hair gets
sink washed.
when the metal basin
comes out and I
eagerly watch as it's
filled ankle deep.
I can hardly wait
as my sisters take
their weekly bath.
I'm the third washing and
the water is cold and murky.
but cold, murky water
is better than
no water at all.
And on
I get to hold my own
washcloth and
I can sit down into
the water and I can
close my eyes
and pretend...
to get clean.

16 Jun 05

Rated 9 (8.8) by 4 users.
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Brought back Saturday memories of being young and poor - you forgot to mention that scum that floats to the top when you're the third one into the water!

Not sure if the last line is a metaphor or just the last line.
 — Isabelle5

This is eerie, I like it.
 — ramher

yeah, eerie, but very effective. the last line is great, pulling it all together. well done.
 — duffyj83

Great nostalgia poem which recalled for me the zinc bath that haunted my childhood
 — larrylark

  This is great!!!!!!!!!!!
 — BoundFeet

This is really good. Like, really.
 — Lia

Very well done.
Effective imagery.
 — Krttika

I think you should write a story, using this as the basis for the style of writing.
I see this as a good opening chapter (a little short, granted)
It would be an interesting read
 — mr_e

reading this back again I realise my comment is really dumb!
no doubt this comment isn't much better!
great poem, dark and sad
 — mr_e

 — unknown