I’m sitting with Antigone in my bathtub
After Shira Erlichman
And she kisses my palm with open mouth. Leaves saliva in the crevasses between my index and my middle finger like water flooding the Grand Canyon. This is like her art. Antigone spits out strands of her hair into the water, picks them up with her toes. My shoulders tense up and she drills the back of my head with an old screwdriver. This is our love poem. Slowly, I pick up the scent of her past, of her in the grime, letting dirt slip through her fingers into the bathwater. She soaks my chest with a mix of egg yolks, vinegar and shampoo suds. This is our therapy, she says, she will give me a new face, rose petals squeezed through a syringe.
Antigone picks up her rolling breasts and I smell skin like cherry turnovers dipped in winter’s mud. I think of how many people saw my Instagram post. A bar of soap slips through my legs. Creamy crocodile skin, flakes coughed out later. My skin starts to buzz and it fuses with the ceramic tiles. I throw my head back in pain. This is normal. This is how it works. When I get up, my hips are a Christmas present and I wrap them up, tie them together tight with the silky ribbon of pyjama shorts. This is a celebration. She wants to carry me to the couch; my living room as god’s junkyard.
Elena Senechal-Becker is an artist and poet from Ottawa residing in Toronto. She edits poetry for Vagabond City Lit and Hart House Review, and attends the University of Toronto.