Ode to My Burning Bath

Maria Prudente

I’ll never 
tell men what I think
while the ink
on our check dries
next to the meringue plate 
and he asks me to come over 
while I eye the acrylic or is it porcelain
and I’m burning for
my best position:

curved back, 
bowed head, legs 
lightweight and hugged by
arms pressed into torso just like I’m back 
in mother’s womb if a womb 
were rectangle.
My disappearing 
dress tears and crumbles 
like we did into a 

memory heap
like the nights are nothing
like the bee’s bitter sting
like the splinter 
I get every spring
into the toe I thumb 
the faucet with and out comes 
red-hot like us last spring,
burning, burning

burning
my skin ’til I feel 
something again.
But I won’t pretend
that I don’t watch tarot card 
readings from the computer I teeter
on the vanity and long 
for our reconciliation except 
for the bad 

memory heap
I still day-dream about us
and don’t 
judge me as I read
comments under the videos and judge
the Sag who says his Libra is leaving him 
for her baby daddy. 
I like doing planks in the bath 
except for when I slip 

and remember 
Whitney was found 
facedown so I 
stop playing around and assume form
like we did in Millerton where you spoke 
of lonely trees and I thought 
of you 
as the sugar 
maple I’d slowly 

been tapping, trying 
to seize 
whatever sap you might proffer but
now it’s over and I’m soaked 
in sweat in lukewarm water about to turn 
the faucet a little harder, hotter in 
case it 
helps us
start over.  

Contributor(s)

Maria Prudente

Maria Prudente is a writer, actor, and researcher based in New York City. Most recently, she's covered the Hollywood strike for the Los Angeles Times and previously helped break sexual assault allegations against actor Chris Noth for The Daily Beast. Her poetry has appeared in Cathexis Northwest Press and at the 2021 Poetry Festival, where she was a guest speaker. 

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Maria Prudente