James Tate

Lucinda said she was going to take a shower.

I said, “Do you mind if I watch?” She looked at me

as if i were crazy, or some kind of pervert. “We’ve

lived together for ten years and I’ve never seen you

take a shower,” I added. She scratched her head and

looked at her feet. “A shower is kind of a private

thing, don’t you think?” she said. “So is making love,

but we do it,” I said. She thought that over for a

minute. “Well, you’ll be disappointed, a shower is

just a shower,” she said. She made me wait outside

while she undressed. After the curtain was pulled

and the water was running, I was permitted to enter.

There were hundreds of native boys chanting in a

tongue I couldn’t comprehend, dancing in a circle 

around her. She soaped her breasts and ignored them.

They worshipped her. She continued soaping her breasts.

They whooped and cried for joy. More soap for the

breasts. I was afraid for my life. Then the soap

travelled south.

Found In Volume 32, No. 04
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James Tate
About the Author

James Tate’s awards include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, a National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.