I draw the bath

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…”

-Jane Kenyon


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.








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *