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Washing My Hair by Anne Stevenson

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Washing My Hair by Anne Stevenson
Contending against a restless shower-head,
I lather my own.
The hot tap, without a mind, decides
to scald me;
The cold, without a will, would rather
freeze me.
Turning them to suit me is an act of flesh
I know as mine.
Here I am: scalp, neck, back, breasts,
armpits, spine,
Parts I’ve long been part of, never
treasured much,
Since I absorb them not by touch, more
because of touch.
It’s my mind, with its hoard of horribles,
that’s me.
Or is it really? I fantasise it bodiless,
set free:
No bones, no skin, no hair, no nerves,
just memory,
Untouchable, unwashable, and not, I guess,
my own.
Still, none will know me better when I’m
words on stone
Than I, these creased familiar hands
and clumsy feet.
My soul, how will I recognise you
if we meet?


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