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.


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.


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.


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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