I draw the bath by Nancy Schatz Alton
“I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden…
I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge…”
Abby prefers the nearly dead orchid to an easy succulent.
Me, I’ll take the hens & chicks every time —
captivated by apparent ease —
even as I know the stone step weathers to perfection in hundreds of years.
I don’t want to read up on how to make the nearly dead thing live —
still I make myself hinge to your door —
I wash and dry your hair, taking pleasure in these minutes.
I marvel at the way you brush your hair: vigorously —
it took so long to get here. To pick myself up
off the metaphorical floor
to stop falling down
or to only occasionally weep until I am drought.
We are not in a drought year.
Still, it’s quiet.
We latch the gate & stay inside,
figure out how to make our fingers stretch
to create a G chord — a full strum down the nylon strings —
it sounds so good.
You never lose the pick our instructor gave to us.
I’m not a patient gardener.
I overwater even though we are not in a drought year.
I shake the orchid — its packed soil doesn’t give in
to the push of my fingertip as I press it.
I claim I’m tired of watering
yet I draw the bath for my daughter
wash her hair.
Shall I not tell anyone lest they tell me she’s too old?
Do I coddle her — or is this synchronicity —
the comfort — latch closed as we pull water
from the atmosphere —
a hen and a chick
that will plant themselves anywhere
giving great beauty, a glorious green
to the driest of landscapes —
we thrive in our own time.