1976

Practical












The guards have come for us
We are to get clean clothes

But before they are issued
we must have a shower

They take us to a brick building
It has a wooden door

Orders are shouted
I don’t understand

Apparently our clothes are so dirty

that we must undress outside

I see the women around me are obeying
I see my arms copying them

Finally we are standing in a line
We look at each other

I see a long animal
tufted and white

An animal with many heads
and many breasts

Some young and tilted
Some older and loose

The sun is warm on my shoulders
I try to close my mind

The line starts to move
We are directed through the door

As we enter
I feel the darkness

My skin starts to rise and fall
to the pulse of my heart

There are metal showers heads
hanging from the ceiling

They are dry
I stand under one of them

On the wall there are containers
with pieces of grey soap

My hand reaches out for one
I close my eyes

My body trembles
I wait for some sound or touch

There is a sudden hissing in the pipes
I feel the first drops of water touch my skin