After dancing all night,
you left open the bathroom door.
I can see parts of you in the mirror.
I watch you unpaint yourself.
You stand at the sink, unbloused,
you remove the tiny baubles
of your earrings, you remove your pearls.
You take the pins from your hair,
you let it tumble down —
I wish I were the shadow of your hair,
full of the fatal scent of you,
guilty of tangles, guilty of a murmur
on your shoulder, your neck.
You wet a cloth.
You wipe away blush and eyeliner,
cleanse foundation and contour,
the sinful deep rose of your lips.
You confess your skin,
you whisper the truth of your skin.
You step out of your heels,
tired ball and arch of your feet
uncradled and returned to cool tile.
You tiptoe from view
into the hot susurrus of the shower,
and leave me only with imagination:
I imagine you, enveloped in downpour,
in suds, in scents of sandalwood and wild orange.
I imagine you sponge away sweat and perfume,
soap and heat tumbling out of the dark
confession of your hair.
I imagine all places you wash:
hungry rib and live collarbone,
kindled breast and hot belly,
thigh, fevered vulva,
imagine my hands as washrags,
my hands as steam.
I cannot wait for you to finish.
I lie and listen to you bathe,
I am tense with desire for you.
Bring your body back to me,
its blemishes uncovered,
its shape adored sans adornment,
let me untowel you,
let me lick the cleanliness from your spine.
I want you without decoration,
without pigments or jewels,
only with the red flowers
only with the purple gems
my mouth will paint on your skin.