I slide beneath the steaming water
Agonizing over yet enjoying the way it envelops me and makes me wet.
I don't like to be wet.
I like to be dry...
but this is a bath,
and I must soak...
soak away the aches and pains of the days, weeks and months gone by...
soak away the filth that embeds itself in my pores...
ah, now the warmth of the water gives me pleasure:
bliss overrides discomfort,
and I begin to wash -
starting with my fingertips, lifting only my forearms out of the water...
working my way up to the elbows, creating a rich and foamy lather;
then I sit up a bit so that I may continue up my arms to the shoulder,
washing my neck which was submerged right up to my earlobes,
and my throat as well.
Then to the smelly armpits which must be lathered more than once
before I am satisfied and move on
to my breasts and back, reaching first one arm
and then the other behind me
then my waist, belly and hips
taking special care
that my navel is both washed and rinsed:
because who wants a dirty bellybutton?
I wash my thighs and soap well between my legs:
another area which requires sudsing more than once
to be certain of cleanliness.
But now it's time to sit down
and raise my legs out of the water
one at a time
to wash my knees, calves, feet and toes...
taking great care to wash between the digits
and using pumice on the tough callouses
built up on feet more often bare than shod.
Once the entire body has been soaped once
and certain portions of it, twice
it is time to use the razor
shaving armpits and legs
to a smooth and socially-acceptable texture;
tired of the charade
but still playing along.
I stand up now, letting the water drain from the tub,
soaping my body and rinsing it once last time
as I prepare to wash my long hair -
which has thinned considerably
from the mane I once wore...
and I choose my shampoo, working it into the scalp,
rinsing to repeat and achieve squeaky-cleanness
before selecting a conditioner
to work into the ends... combing it through
and rinsing with first warm, then ice-cold water.
Once this ritual is complete I turn off the water, then
squeezing excess liquid from my hair
I reach out a towel with which I vigorously rub my hair and
wrap it to sop up the rest while I
Step from the shower
onto the bath mat,
Use Q-tips to clean my ears and some witch hazel on a cotton ball for my face -
moisturizing my face and body...
picking up a towel to blot myself dry then
squirming into a thick terrycloth bathrobe.