Words from the Showerhead | Three Poems

by Carol Carpenter

Words from the Showerhead on My Birthday

Clearing of the throat:

Nagged and pounded,
straight down wet.
You glistened.

You forgot:

the meat thawed
and red-run
spoiled. Hot
water leashed,
treated on schedule,
a city decree,
a birthday trust in purity.

You remembered:

white, the coconut cake,
blue-tipped orange,
the candles’ flames
that familiar song.

You raked:

red maple leaves
cupping rain. Little
birthday boats afloat,
sunk under by
tire treads rolled over

You lit:

the arson spark,
the ark of pairs,
the hope in dreams
beyond despair.
Liquid birth
day. Celebrate
the miracle of water-
falls, the day’s beginning.


Four separate seedlings bloom their beginning –
one purple sweet alyssum close to the ground,
a squat marmalade marigold, a hot pink impatients
with a white throat, and a viola dressed
in five loose petals above heart-shaped leaves.

Above these flowers my sweet-faced,
green-limbed grandson tilts his watering can,
wants more leaves, more flowers, more
life as water pours from the spout.

Five viola petals fall ever so slowly
onto the black earth before he bends
and picks up each yellow-orange petal
and puts it oh so carefully in his pocket.


Five Women in Their Baths

The white feather of a dove. Soap
so soft against her skin, fragile
as an eggshell membrane. A splash,
a water drop from above. Another
trickle. Another hand wipes her skin.
Not a bath.
Not a bath.

Her soap dreams whimper,
rise in mist, pop in humid air.
Droplets dribble bit by bit
back onto her bony shoulders.
Old now,
bones bent with the wet and heavy load.

Lavender petals lick her skin purple.
In her bath, she soaps her wet body.
Water breath whispers
promises into her cupped ear.

Water still runs. Soap slips
from her hand. From the other side
the tap, tap on the door,
the voices of her kids, the phone,
a heavy thing hits the floor,
the dog barks.
Part of her life goes on
without her. She is not
ever alone.

At 10, she molds her breasts with strawberry bubbles.
When such roundness floats to the ceiling,
wipes away with a washcloth,
drops into bathwater,
dissolves into her hand,
she pulls the bathtub plug.

About Carol Carpenter

Carol Carpenter's poems and stories have appeared in numerous online and print publications, including: Fjords, Anderbo.com, Barnwood,The Pedestal, Soundzine, Orbis (UK) and Quiddity. Her work has been exhibited by art galleries and produced as podcasts (Connecticut Review and Bound Off).  Her chapbook, The Empress of Patton Avenue, was published online by Heartsounds Press. She received the Hart Crane Memorial Award, the Jean Siegel Pearson Poetry Award, Artists Among Us Award and others. She lives in Livonia, Michigan.

Carol Carpenter

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