Dave Hughes: The Baths

He rises out of the mist like the old bull moose that he is.

Bellowing and snorting through his snout.

The heavy wood bench

groans as it accommodates the shifting mass.

He is a vestige.

He knows his time is past, but here

he lives on.

we wrap our worry in

thin cotton.

He is a mirror

to the future.

a line to the past.

Belly huge and tight.

Capillarys blossom wide across his features,

balls hang low as he leans wide legged into the corner of the baths.

I would love to tell you that his aspect is beautiful,

graceful.

But it isn’t

It is rough hewn,

brutal,

flat nosed.

Shoulders so broad

that he must have hefted bricks

Knuckles so broken, knotty and cracked

they must have swung a hammer.

I would love to tell you that we hung on his every word.

But we will never learn what he knows,

the world he learned it in is dead,

it has passed the gate,

and wandered down the lane.

He doesn’t want to engage us,

share his story,

hear our story,

his friends are dead,

and he could give a shit to make new ones now.

So we just watch him,

grunt and lumber into the steam.

Knowing we will follow him soon.

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