By Muna Agwa

after William Blake

I used to spend every weekend reclined

in the same ivory oasis, cocooned by a plume of steam.

Clean and white bathroom tiles tilted in a perfect lattice

became the blank canvas upon which scribbled my stray curly hairs.

The unstained brass handles, broad and flat, were the mirrors

where I perfected my bubbly wigs and beards.

And when I was done, I would roll over and clap the water

like a wave that gleefully claps the shore.

Constellations of milky white soap droplets

would stain the glass tub doors.

Pale, breathtaking light from the small, square bathroom window

used to peek through my soapy mural.

The warm fingers of my mother massaged 

my ripe skin; for I was bathed in light, water, and love.

I used to playfully submerge myself under a cloud of suds

and press air from my nose, sending ripples through the tub.

My mother’s young hands, untouched by Time’s stress,

outlined my unknowing cherubic face. 

And for those few hours every Sunday, 

my world became small enough to fit inside that pearl-colored heaven. 

Small enough to exist in the eyes of my mother.

Small enough to satisfy me.