The Potomac - Ian Haight
July 2007 - THE POTOMAC

   Ian Haight

A bathroom cut in a hillside
has the scent of the '50's.
Water smells float in the air

from a metal pipe
that goes up through the ceiling
and down through the floor.
How far this pipe runs--

memories of grade-school
Exposed corner bathroom pipes,
on-post rec-room toilets
at a base in Korea,
both built
near the same time.
How satisfying this pipe
carrying what it should
as it was made to,
all the sludge
and tissue-thin pulpish paper
or thankfully discarded
along with clean water

that carries it.
through all this service,
the pipe never fails--
never succumbs to rust.
imperceivably weighs the pipe down;

a heavy earth odor
rises from below
the cobwebs

behind rivet-secured wall clamps--
this bathroom pipe,
not much by way of endurance
but defined
by what it is.

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