At the Gellert Baths, Budapest
Here in the body museum,women speaking Hungarianrinse one another with buckets of water,warmed from a spigot in a turquoise room.Their hair a long, flattened cat down their spines,curved to the bend.These are antique womenwith elegies tattooed on the skin –a bruise, a mole, a scar where an irononce fell from the board.The women forget the devils they marriedin adjacent rooms where only men are permitted.The world is gentler hereamong the magnesium and tiled swans.Water ripples like jellied handkerchiefswhere their clavicles hit the surface.I am frozen in place by the audacious nudity of bodies.The brazen loaves of fat in the leg.Bellies sodden after so many babies.The quiet, nonsexual touching of womenas they soap one another in the spots of their backsthat none of us can reach on our own.
Copyright © 2023 by Christy Prahl
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Christy Prahl is an Illinois Arts Council grant recipient and the author of the poetry collection We Are Reckless (Cornerstone Press, 2023). Shortlisted for the Stephen Meats Poetry Prize and a Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her publications include the Penn Review, Salt Hill Journal, Eastern Iowa Review, and others. She has held residencies at both Ragdale and the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow and is the founder of the PenRF reading series. She splits her time between Chicago and rural Michigan and appreciates subways and siloes in equal measure.
Salt Hill is a biannual literary journal publishing outstanding new fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art by people at various stages in their literary and artistic careers. We publish new and emerging writers alongside those with long, illustrious careers in the literary arts.
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