Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poem: "In the Shower"

In the Shower

The water used to run out of the mouths
of three green soapstone faces. (One face laughed.
and one face cried; the middle one just looked….)
—Elizabeth Bishop, “Under the Window: Ouro Prêto”

Heavy glass door, with top and bottom metal bands.
The room inside rectangular, two shoulders wide,
long as a man lying down, if you were the man.

Below the shower head, two rectangular alcoves,
a tablet of white scentless soap in the left recess
and in the right hairthickening shampoo for your hair.

Between the niches one small handle, ceramic,
bulging slightly in the middle for an easy grip,
to turn from right to left from cold to hot and back.

Far enough from water to keep a towel dry,
an apse, rectangular too, with an altar cube
for you to stand up tall and to accept a mouth.

And on the walls, the floor, the alcoves and the apse,
small tiles, sea green, intense as lapis lazuli,
graze on the inside now of the sarcophagus.

*

2 comments:

Sinthalunda said...

Hello. I like this. Such clear images. And the end is such a suprise.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks!