An Old Man Bathing in the Hosoegawa
Jerry Gordon

I have come around the world
to see this,
an old man bathing
in a 6 inch stream
between Osaka apartment buildings.

The dance is the same
as at Banares
as the exposed anatomies
of the bony old
enter the Ganges
in a ritual of river
and soap
and a yellow terry-towel.

He sits on the stone edge,
scrubbing the streets
off his legs,
and then he enters the stream
and works his white suds way up
across the odd rectangle of his back
with its knot-dotted spine
and the wing-severed stumps of his shoulder blades.

A skeleton working away
beneath a thin gauze of skin--
a man
washing the suit of himself.

And I can see how much
he's enjoying it,
how good clean feels.

And I don't mind staring
like a tourist to the sooty gats
who can't back away
from the awe-filled link
of where we all come from
and where we will return.

The body draws its self
to water,
and we dip our hands
as a primordial cup
to pour the baptism's trickle
and remake ourself


More Poems — return to Poetry Korner


Jerry Gordon

Recognizing Rain

A Woman Comes Apart

An Old Man Bathing in the Hosoegawa


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