She said the force of the
shower has been too strong
to bear... I must sit.

I promised things would manage,
as they sometimes did
carefully feeding bits of bar soap to the hungry
drain. Staring back, calling my lie,

slick and unequivocal.
She begged for bread, the special kind,
she said, with a square of butter
like the commercials, she said
from the bottom of the shower.
I return with bread, butter, dish, to find
her in the midst of shedding tissue, blood,
possibility of a son
before eyeing the source (slipping from
pressed thighs) I felt giant
relief, that she had finally let herself
go -- moving  from pain to darkness,
only to see the lifeless river
colored that same monthly color -- the sudden sickness

of re-experiencing the pull of gravity, my own weight,
regaining pressure on the mat, the swirl of blood and soap into the soap
fed drain reminds me of the Ice Cream Man's slow, bright turn
through the memory of my childhood cul-de-sac, and I retreat to memory,
wandering the frozen part of the market with an empty plate.

Patrick Leonard
PATRICK LEONARD lives in Houston, Texas with his son, Elliot. He makes a living as a teacher. Mr. Leonard's work has been published in The Mid-America Poetry Review and elsewhere.