Shampoo & Sponge Bath
1. It takes a small face to see itself in the handmirror offered when staff says it's time to wash that greasy hair. Says it'll help. Like a tuber on the pillow or the shadow of a spade is how I remember looking. Water slopped on my gown and skin and sheets. When they laid my head back into the metal basin I died and happily that time. 2. There was a terrifyingly large sky that first day they rolled me out for air. Terrifyingly. And clouds like balled-up cobwebs. What if the chair got caught in a crack or on a rock–I watched for that. There's one the orderly said meaning a cloud that looks like you. There was weakness in each of them. There was a fraying wind. A mess he said like you before your bath.
From Meaning a Cloud by J.W. Marshall. Copyright © 2008 by J.W. Marshall. Reprinted by permission of Oberlin College Press. All rights reserved.