The Loneliness of Men Bathing

The Loneliness of Men Bathing

No one bothers to imagine men in baths.
None of us sitting home alone
On a dull, rainy evening
Thinks of the nude male body
Half-floating, eyes closed, in scented water
Littered with petals, loosening himself
Into the liquid grace of muscular abandon,
One arm perhaps draped over the bath’s edge
Beckoning unconsciously, the left hand
Drawing a long, slow line along
The silkened, opened, underwater skin
Of an upper thigh until it reaches
Tactile complications at the loins
And just gets lost.

The lovely self-involvement of this wet
Body, slightly stirring, aromatic
Weightless, gorgeous, given up to pleasure
Is no secret, but still the event
Goes unattended, night after night
Year after year.
People imagine something else; men rise
From dirty, unimagined water
Put on an old bathrobe
Make tea and clip their nails
Without so much applause
As a single caught breath
Or pair of widened eyes.

O fragrant, oiled Odysseus, O Marat
Interrupted, O Bloom in your indolent tub
O Christ in heaven and your feet
In Mary Magdalene’s hair, forgive me!
Think of me, from now on, thinking of you—
Vigilant, breathless, crazy with desire.

– Mary Campbell

 

oh, i do, mary. 

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