“Haven of Rejuvination for the Working Man” by Amy Hikel

Legs like softened noodles
let a thick, porous body slunk against slick tub sides.
He releases the morning, the afternoon,
and the tiresome night in this golden bathtime ritual.
This permeative being does not absorb,
but the warm liquid steals the day from his flesh.
It washes soaked up labor place and toothless, grimy grins;
It strips the oil, its greed and its other corpulent proponents.
Dirt melts, and the spat from the bottom
of America's socio-economic barrel is sludged from skin,
dissipating slowly into this lowly cradle of filth.

Thank god for the water.

Cleansed and centered
amidst brown rings of shed experience,
he is simply man again.
Toil down the drain,
dollar bills as worthless as they already are—
There is nothing to do but be...
Until tomorrow when, once again,
the world will pass through epithelial armor
leaving behind ground-down livelihood’s grime,
until the next time golden solitude replenishes heart
and heals the heels and souls of worn out men.