Wolves In The Bathtub


wolves in the bathtub

email to: melissa (the cleaning lady)
from: kathleen (the broken hearted)
re: cleaning news

hi melissa,

no more owen, I
cried buckets
he got scared of
and receiving love
(no kidding!)
and ran away
“a lone wolf”
says he
no word since!

how crummy that
our families
with all their sloshing
fear and anger
can leave such a scum
upon the fine porcelain
of our love
that some of us
never fill again
our aching hearts
but move out
and on
and never in

as you know
my bathtub is old
and the porcelain’s shine
is compromised
but it is deep, deep
and I love it
it has sure feet
and welcomes me
and it is enough that
it is attended to
and clean
and in fact
I prefer character
over five-star-shiny
if the price for spotlessness be
no contact
with the psyche’s

now about my shower
as you know
it stands separately
in its own enclosed space
too dark to easily
shave my legs
probably designed
by someone
who did not like to
let light in
dark places…

the upshot—
please clean the ceiling of the shower
as there is no more owen
with his tallness
and helpfulness in the event
of safe disasters
(ie mold on the shower ceiling
as opposed to
the breaking open of a heart—
the patience and kindness
needed by two people
to share the insane pain
of the first real reaching up
into love
past the grim hurting stains
left by our families
and after that, all the attendant
care and maintenance
needed to continue
to be vulnerable,
divine and ordinary,
growing up
to enter the waters
with one another)…

the stool for you to
get to that height
is as always
and commitedly so
in the hall closet

I wish for owen
howling inwardly
and alone
for him to put his wolfpaw
upon his heart
till it turns into the
hand of a man
and find some glimmer
that will allow him
to make real contact
with himself and others
to know he is
good enough
and to learn someday
that the wolf
after all
is really a tribal
not a lone creature!

my weeping was loud
while in the tub
it has left traces
you will not see
but I’m okay

I pray for
a wolf of the tribes
to come running into the bath someday
to jump in the waters with me
and become human
and go deep
and tribal
and down
and anyway
if not, or until then,
my heart is large
and fine
and open,
scrubbed enough
to be serviceable
and quite able
(though it be joy or sadness)
to be filled
to the

I wish the
same for


© Kathleen Dunbar

Photo by Kathleen Dunbar

Would ya like to hear one of my love songs?  Just click on the title to take you to the song: Accordion Song  Or visit my website and find it: kathleendunbarmusic

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