A Ritual of Towels

she hangs the towel before the fire
he will call down the passage soon
and she wants to make it as dry and warm
as a touch of comfort on skin
still beaded by drops of water
rubbing his hair into spikes to comb
then story books into bed
and a kiss goodnight


she makes a tent on the air-duct
central heating makes winter
a simple game indoors in the evening
a towel draped over a wire frame
for airing in rising air that is soft
and dry and so warm
rubbed all over and into his body
so fast there is a glow left by friction


she won’t do any more than a minute
in the microwave carousel
because longer will leave burn spots
glaring brown on the rolled up yellow towel
that is circling around and round
growing warm and soft and dry
ready for the call that reaches out to her
through a cloud of steam
to turn off the shower please

© Frank Prem, 2001


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