Body of Water

Baker’s Pick
Kristi Denke


Project 50 - Day #7 (Underwater)
Photo Credit: Sean McGrath

August hadn’t taken a bath since he was six.

It was at that point that his father had closed the shower doors around him and declared him a man. A real man didn’t take baths.

He wasn’t sure he’d fit at first. His adult form didn’t seem small enough, but there he was. His lower back at one end, his toes peeking out of the water at the other.

What his dad had said made sense.

August didn’t feel much like a man. He dipped his toes under the water and held them still. Perhaps he was waiting for them to float to the surface. But they were held by his own will below the still, clear water.

It had taken him months to get clean. The sand still irritated the pores of his bald scalp. There were clothes that still smelled of the place, in a bag he’d thrown into a closet. Letters, a camera, even a flask of dirt he’d bottled up from the desert when the feeling was young.

Back when he’d felt young.

He steadied himself on the edges of the tub, bending his knees and bringing his head backwards into the water. The water sloshed over his ears and the world went still.

He listened to his heart. He waited for it to stop.

His cell phone asked to be answered. It vibrated across the counter, across the letter delivered days before. The summons, the orders, the call to his duty to serve at the will of higher powers.

Oath conquered will. But August could not go. The shrink had cleared the way. But August stared at the bathroom ceiling, unblinking.

August would not go.

pencil

Kristi lives in Atlanta and splits her time between writing and study of the craft of coffee. A native of Colorado, she is a member of the Colorado Poets Association and has contributed to Ydragsil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts. Email: k.a.denke[at]gmail.com