At 5 a.m. I stand in the shower
breathing steam, soaping the smelly parts.
At head level, above my right shoulder,
a small rectangular window
on the flip-side of which the winter wind
drags crystal-rich sub-zero air moaning
through the frosted boughs of ragged pines.
As I rinse the Head and Shoulders from my thinning hair
I pee into the draining suds water, saving a flush.
When I twist the hot and cold to cut the flow,
Feather the Wonder Cat cries once outside the stall.
She’s been waiting there to lick my legs
as I dry my hair and upper body, employing
my one, semi-crusty, aqua bath towel – a ritual.
The shower was short. The bathroom is chilly.
Yet these simple acts, choreographed by long repetition
and demonstrative of the Will to Hygiene,
disclose as well a stoic assent, on this day, at this hour,
to carry it forward one more time -- with Feather’s approval.