Judith Florence Grammel

AMERICAN BATH

Long Beach is the pluribus and Bally is the unum.
In many shapes, from many lands, with many tongues, we come
to maximize our glutei and minimize our bellies.

Cambodian, Hispanic, Anglo, Afro, Filipino,
working class and middle class, overweight and under,
amputee, triathlete, and elderly with walker,

we exercise, metabolize, and energize en masse.
Then guys meet guys, guys meet girls, girls meet girls, we chat,
soaking, flirting in the spa after weights and laps.

If Signal Hill should blow its top and bury us in ash,
some archeologist might find a tableau of the past
and call it, "Working Out and Lounging Around the American Bath."





Margaret Ann Towner

I PLACE LOVE AT CENTER STAGE

I place love at center stage
as we vacation in desert heat.
To stay away from blinding
sun we shop. She attempts
to make change; I watch
and remember the days
when there was no money.
She sewed my dresses
then, and later for my girls,
read to them at night,
rocked my son, told me
how beautiful he was.
She carried roller skates
to Mexico, edited my writing,
held my babies, consoled
me in their illnesses.
In the mornings she met
me with a smile in spite
of words exchanged
the night before.
Stood in the hall
with us when I called
the police. I place
love at center stage,
and wonder what comes
next. She holds onto
my arm and we giggle
at our wobbly walk.




Regina Nervo

TAMED


I am tame now
by nature
by my man.
My wildness swirling
down.
My undomesticated life
becoming domestic.
The milk flows
and I grow too.
I grow more arms.
A multi-trunk tree.
I have become
a lover of lullabies
and compromises.
The one who never
sleeps.
The tree that minds
the seasons.
Leaves fall,
branches snap.
Buds reappear.
I am tame now
nothing to fear
nothing to ignite
here.
I am tame now
my body the soft
white flesh
of a pear,
of babies and slow
walks.
Breasts that comfort.
Kisses for bruises.
I am tame now
roasting chickens
and baking bread.
Pouring sippy cups of apples
singing nursery rhymes
counting down to bedtime.

I am tame now
in my Levi's
and sandals
in my cotton panties
and cycles.
I am tame now
in my dreams,
my husband's body
puzzled to mine.
Tame in my awakenings
eyes open
my son calling
"Mommy"
in the blue morning.
I am tame now.
Tamed by God
by nature,
by the rising
and setting of the sun.
Tamed by fire
and ice
the slow melting
and collecting
of water
for life.