The Ritual

By March 10, 2023No Comments

There’s a swift shift of the sheets on the bed in the other room

There’s been a heavy allquiet allnight in the other room

Rightaway, there’re footsteps; nothing more

There’re footsteps walking out of the room

Then, you’re in the shower

You’re taller than water

I want to see you there

I hear the splash,
Where? It’s all over your body, the water, isn’t it?

Then your head moves slowly back, your face comes face to face with the showerhead, eyes closed, hot water hot on your face

What about your hands? Do they keep busy on your body? With water? With soap?

I can see you stripped of the shirts and the pants covering you when I want to look

You’re covered with soap, shampoo on the hair, water, I see the red facecloth some days, wet.

I don’t know how you wash it all off, how you turn to adjust under the pouring hot, how you rub your five fingers on the neck, back, chest, thighs, legs

Do you bend, ever, to wash your foot?

You throw the hair back, you must.

You comb it all back, hair doesn’t stay put.  You shake your head to adjust the strands,
I’ve seen the comb.

Do you close your eyes under the shower? Do you know how beautiful you look?

When you’re not high, you’re high on yourself, you must know how beautiful you.

You let water kiss you&run, she loves you, you know that; of course you do.
And you stay there for ever.

I waited for ever the first day to look at you when you walk out of the shower; why.

This chocking wanting feeling wishing to touch your body is deafening, is so loud.

This is your ritual: you hug that pouring water for so long every day; why.


there is the knife, and then the cutting board every single morning.

You’re standing at the kitchen counter, facing the trees in the courtyard;
You are taller than the trees

There is the meat, sliced, lettuce, torn to pieces, cheese cut and laid, mustard, lots of, and bread; bread to hold it all together

You’re facing the sun, not looking at it,
I’m looking at the back of your head, at your hair up there,
and down to the ground, where you are standing.

I look up

This is your ritual, you create four pieces of art on four slices of bread. Such precision, so beautiful, so much love – I’ve been watching.

The stream of kindness you have for everything, everything; the menace you save for me and other intruders.

This is the ritual; every day I look and keep looking till you turn back and I turn around to look at the wall or something out there.

I’m not looking at you, it’s crazy.

How can I be not looking at you? It’s crazy.

Have you been looking at you lately?


Then it’s all gone

It’s all gone for a whole day

Do you know how long a day is these days?

It’s a whole day every single day you’re gone,

And I don’t know where to look at

I look at things, things here and there


You walk in when it’s all dark

You don’t eat

Sometimes you eat, and I don’t know what

You sit in that other room

Or you sit here where I’m sitting

You say something. I say something; it’s crazy.

I feel dumb you feel disturbed why are you disturbed? Why don’t you ask?

I’m the Prometheus my heart pulled out over and over right out of my heart.
I haven’t offered no fire to Men, so, why?

You hug your guitar
You say you’re off for your nightly ritual

I sit there sit there

Do I need another glass of vodka?

Do I need another glass?

Do I need to know what is it you’re playing?

I open my eyes, it’s still your guitar.  Why do you sound like wailing, like a wounded sHe?

You’re still playing the guitar
You’re bent on the damn thing
You’re gorgeous

Now you’re playing the drum      now it’s the guitar        I open my eyes      it’s the guitar

Now you’re singing with that abused beat-up-buttered-scratched-sweetly-dipped-in-honey voice of yours

Crazy, you stand up. You say something like: ok, I’m —–

I know that

But you say something else, too, while staring

You say something I can’t figure out

Words leave my lips chopped into bits;
I can’t breathe

This choking wanting to follow when we’re going up the stairs leaving me there on the sofa for a minute a minute a minute, a minute, only.

For only a minute I can’t exhale I am shocked

I am chocking with wanting to know you’re gone to bed

You’re taller than the night

Am I walking into your bedroom?

What if I walk into your bed?

What if I love you sweetly, slowly, stern as I wish?

This breathing gritting of teeth swallowing hard beating of the heart in the head is the ritual, my ritual

See you tomorrow
Have a good night



Owen Sound Ontario 2005

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