cold shower
by t. zoEy benally

you know what will come out
thunder out from silver plated spigot
you wish you could change it
but everything is closed
everyone asleep, nothing can be done
butane canister empty & you must
confront the cold shower

your skin reacts even before
water gurgles from the tap
goose bumps rush
from shoulders down to toes
teeth chatter, jaws rattle
breath staggers
you try to calm yourself
but you know how that chill blast will sink
to your bones and red marrow gel

some say turn on the water and jump right in
be brave, face your demons
i say, take your time, strategize, use science
your head loses heat the fastest
if your head gets cool first
then the rest won't be so shocking

wet your hair, wet every strand
shampoo was designed for warm water
so you must be sure that every strand
is completely wet, totally ready for suds
lather and rinse, but be gentle
it's easy to injure your scalp when it is numb
from cold, and you won't feel it till hours later

soap up your wash cloth, bath mitt, what have you
i always wash my arms, then legs & feet
rinse, then move on to my chest & belly
i've found that cold water is most painful
causing me to gasp and shiver
when it rains down my back
i move slowly, deliberately
wash more sections until finally
it is time

time to step into the shower & rinse
everything again
time to finally rinse your back
time to rinse the junctions between
arms, legs, torso free of soap
boundaries between front & back clean
time to rinse shampoo residual
from your hair until it squeaks
it's time--you're finally ready
to face the cold shower

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