“Bathing” by Christie Maurer

It happens. Every time

I am shocked to find among

the fine sand-colored hairs

swimming in the bath water

a kinked strand of pure black,

thick as thread. I slide

my thumb and index finger curiously

across the coarse wire of its

body and think of my mother,

how I would watch her bathe

and soap her olive skin, the stretch-

marks on her stomach seaweeding

up to her ribcage where two

long nippled cones rested. I’d look

down at her as she laid on her back,

steam rising off the water like

sifting dust, her dark

body enclosed in shining porcelain,

her massive blue-black hair floating

around her narrow face like

an inky halo. She’d grab onto the side

of the tub with a lightly veined hand,

pulling herself up, as if

out of another world and into

this one, and I’d wonder how

it was possible for me

to come from such color.