Antipodal Ablutions

The well on the farm tasted of iron.

Friends could not stomach the smell.

 

In winter I bathed once or twice a week

in my sister’s leftover water.

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In Delhi, in summer, you showered morning

and evening and sometimes in between; in winter

 

just one bucket bath per day, and you’d recline

on the balcony to dry your hair in sunlight.

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I asked you if the Jamuna was holy before

realizing that all rivers

 

are holy. In summer my family

swam daily in the Swift Current Creek.

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We talked this afternoon

as you were getting ready for bed,

 

but I could not feel your damp black

hair through my laptop screen.

 

Alone, I shower tonight before bed,

making myself clean for you.

 

 

(Swift Current Creek photos by Jessi Gowan)

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