The Bath

They tumbled the fresh taps,
hearing the sudden spank of water
cymballing the sides, sweltering
eddies and swashbuckle whorls,
all belting from rich jugulars.

There were pitchers of steam,
dazzles of cataract
blinding the wild eye with rhumbas.

Into the rapids they poured salts,
seltzer, a robbery of oils,
pearling the surfaces with elegant amber;
and the bath bubbled, succulent,
spanished its fly tides against
blue skies of tile.

It was seven o'clock; the sun
rumpled the shallows. Angels and
minnowing fish were dinking ripples
as clothes were unbandaged,
hurled into swart corners, cupboards,
collapsible shadows.

The water was penetcostal,
licked up their long legs with bevies of tongues:
they lapped the language of thigh,
drenched themselves in the live
dialects of breast and shoulder.
And all this time, the water
spilled in silk into rolling folds,
leaping the dark fantastic
of the deeps, the rushes.

They played the spray, scooped
ribbons which ran
tinsel down their skin. They dived,
rolling the water's drolleries
on the far-flung shores of their bodies.

Somewhere a dumb future
yawned like a fall, the dusted
shelves held the dry palmprints
of lovers before them. And
dusking the vapour, there lay
an image of pain, flecked with a grey
scum of indifference, lees.

But the bath beckoned,
curling its early ebbs like crooks
of invitation fingers,
flirting the fine mist of faces
with spoondrifts of hullabaloo.

From Love Poems

The Bath