A Sacred Downpour

By Caroline Hesby, TIWP college student

I step into the shower
with bricks on my shoulders
hot and stinging
this cubicle becomes my laboratory
invisible checklists written on the walls
and years of guilt, memories of madness, visions of a future–
all pour out of the showerhead with pressure

Once upon a time, we started to praise efficiency before consciousness,
and now I forget what water feels like.
my hands scrub my body in passive, stressful motions
and I wonder why I said those things at age 13? or if I will complete my homework before or after dinner?

The water seeps into the delicate lines and tissues wrapped around my bones as it has forever:
when the streams fall off my skin, are they weeping for a lost time,
when I cupped my desperate hands under the fall of water like a prayer?
Now I treat a holy cleansing of my limbs as a flood to survive, a box on the checklist to be “X’ed” out.

When I step into the shower I want to remember why I’m there…
I yearn to again understand the delicate sting of the streams hitting my palms and smooth out the soft, reflective drops that collect on the whisps of my hairline.
How vulnerable and glorious to wear only the clothes of my DNA–
and wash away all the traces of dust that the day bought.

The heat envelopes me like sunlight
and if I close my eyes
I feel an ocean’s waves pushing and pulling me ever so gently,
a game bodies such as mine have played since ever.

Turn the knob half an inch,
just for a moment,
to awaken every cell that sleeps in my skin
with a vibrant cold rush.

The world goes quiet
only a heartbeat, 
and the shushing sound of the rain in that small space. 

On my eyelids, it feels like a parent singing me to sleep
on my neck it tells me that I don’t need to speak,
don’t need to prove myself worthy to the streams that come down–
off my shoulders the water runs,
down my arms, waist, and legs,
aligning with the rivers of blood 
that keep my heart beating under a sacred downpour.

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