93: Man at His Bath by Natalie Shapero

Six years ago, the big museum sold eight famous paintings

to purchase, for unspecified millions,

Gustave Caillebotte’s Man at His Bath.

Now it’s hip to have a print of it,

and whenever I see one hung for decoration,

I’m almost certain that this is what Caillebotte

had in mind when he broke out the oils

in 1884: some twenty-first-century bitch in Boston

catching a glimpse of a framed reproduction,

recollecting a study about how washing oneself may induce

a sense of culpability. What I remember


is he insisted I clean before leaving. That, and he was

trying to be dreamlike. He took my jaw in his hand

and said in the next life, we’ll really be together,

and the clamp in his voice made me almost

certain he knew something I did not. Now I eat right,

train hard, get my shots. This life — I’m angling

to remain in this life as long as I can, being almost

certain, as I am, what’s after —



The author’s work can be found in the volume, Hard Child.

Think about how the poem made you feel. How certain are you about what comes after? And does that affect how daring you choose to be in this life?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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