Is there anything on earth less poetical
than soap? I wonder— as I stare at the lumpy
white blob in its pool of scum.
How many times a day do I lather my hands
counting or singing or playing mind games to stretch
the ritual for the appointed duration?
As once ancient apothecaries stirred their preparations
for the length of a certain number of Pater Nosters.
How else shall we measure our incantations against sickness?
When was the last time I pulled my hands slowly apart
to see the thin skin stretch and grow between—
iridescent, colors dancing, as birds’ feathers, butterfly wings,
oil slicks, nacre at the seashell’s heart?
Pull it slowly— slower— don’t move too fast.
Watch the bubble stretch thinner and thinner until at last
it pops, leaving no trace.
Stare through the bubble’s pane
to see fairyland, a rainbowed world made
new and startling, like the rush of grace.