Days gather in the roots of my hair—the salt of them, the sea—and I must send them underground, to the rust- crowded lattice of pipes we buried there like instruments of music unfinished, and so I leave my clothes on the bathroom floor, crumpled like bats that fell asleep midflight, and the water falls from the showerhead and I say thank you to the water that touches me and does not judge the way I survey the bed of my body, does not judge this new width around my waist, or how compulsively I search out the skin tags that have been with me so long they might as well be old ticks turned flesh, and I say thank you to the nameless skin cells sloughing off, which are also me, I say thank you to the lost, long hairs, pressing them against the shower wall like a broken word scrawled in a broken cursive, and I hate to waste anything, every night the television threatens the end, the desiccated reservoir of its empty chest, I know men and women could drink this water I choose to stand in longer than I need to, thinking of everything that must be done before sleep catches me again in its rip current, thinking of a woman I love whom I stood with in this same shower and saw her with my bad eyes wash herself, and as the water carried off our deadfall and our sweat she watched me in a way I never thought anyone would and called me beautiful, beautiful, I am sorry for daydreaming, I am sorry for feeling sorry for myself, I step out clean, I say thank you to the water that washes what I once was down the drain.

DREW HEMMERT is a sixth-generation Floridian living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals, including The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, Hunger Mountain, The Literary Review, Poetry Northwest, South Dakota Review, and Tar River Poetry. He earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and currently serves as an Assistant Editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal.