Perhaps her only fault

was to look for that love

laid out on dry land,

a mere fragment washed in

by the lapping eyes of men

who used to probe her flesh.

At forty, there is already

something in the heat,

a sort of pale awakening,

her body missing the rain.

The skeleton now knows

how to move on its own,

dragging that sagging skin.

She strips her self of old

things dry, a rusting wire

on her brassiere holds

her memory, the tips

of her soapy fingers

groping for the steel knobs

of warm water gushing

through the contours

of her body.

They find their way

to her nipples,

where unborn sons

should have suckled,

but she only had lovers.

The foam then trickles

down her navel where

the late province komadrona

crudely snipped away

her life from mother,

drifted her off

to this new sea

of rubber,

of last night’s condom lying

exhausted on the bathroom floor,

glistening like a detached

oyster from its shell.

The steam

and her thoughts gallop

to the beat of falling water.

They heave a sigh

and try to suppress

that curdling screech.

The sound stops, and she dries her self.

Tonight, she will try to trace

that love on the lines

of another woman’s palm,

let her own tongue taste

the salt that gathered round

this other woman’s breast.

From what sea did men find

her in then? From what loss

did they bid her leave?

She will clutch

at the smallness of hips,

fill the symmetry

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of the shadows—

sway.

Press her cheek against

this other woman’s

womb and find it

empty.

Tomorrow she will take a bath again.

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