While The Bathtub Is Filling
by Lana Hechtman Ayers
The mirror reports that I am starting to
resemble my mother, the way she looked
that time I went into her bedroom without knocking,
saw her breasts: two weighted-down plastic bags,
bloated, slow-swinging pendulums.
I decided right then to die at eighteen,
in the prime of perkiness and elasticity.
Last year, my mother showed me a fat scar
where her left breast used to be.
It looked as if a red snake slithered
out of her heart and hid his head
in the brush of her armpit.
The longer I stared, the more I recognized
the creature above her belly for what is was: life.
Nothing about nakedness was ever that lovely.
My mother’s survived this halving,
that scar, a red brooch of honor
making me proud to be a woman like her.
In a moment, when the bathtub is finally full,
I’ll forget the mirror, all these musings,
lie back in the pale green bath,
and feel the warm water work its magic,
making buoyant, bobbing apples
of my two old gals.
This poem appears in Dance From Inside My Bones, published by Snake Nation Press, © 2007, Lana Hechtman Ayers.
Lana Hechtman Ayers lives in the
Seattle area with her husband and many
monochromatic pets. She is a poetry manuscript consultant, a writing workshop
facilitator, a small press publisher and an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review. Her poems appear in numerous
journals. She is a National Book Award
nominee, a Pushcart nominee, and received honors from the “Discovery”/The
Nation competition, the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, and the Science Fiction Poetry
Associations' Rhysling prize. Lana taught writing workshops for the Centrum
Port Townsend Writers Conference, Write on the Sound Conference, Field's End
Writers Conference, and the King County Library System. She has authored five
poetry collections, the most recent of which, A New Red and What Big Teeth,
feature a contemporary Red Riding Hood all grown up. Lana’s sixth and seventh
collections are due out in 2015.