The Water Babies Amuse Themselves
I planted a water lily in the bathtub
to keep myself company.
Watched it bob between the atolls of my knees
its rhizomes wormed beneath me.
On the third day it had children,
thumb-sized bodies tumbling out.
They filled the bathtub’s crevasses with mud and pebbles.
They went geo-cacheing in my navel.
Watched sinister blue-pelted puppets sing on television,
the Ritz cracker crackle of static.
I couldn’t budge to turn it off.
A fluid pooled in the lily’s curled center.
A glinting junebug crawled out pollen-backed
sauntered into my chest cavity.
The flower children watched and cheered,
admiring the bug like confetti.
Wings unwrinkled from its body.
Clicking noises echoed from me.
The children multiplied like grubs, like seeds in spongy berries.
The lily clung to my thighs. Petals browned and drooped.
The children learned the alphabet from song-honking puppets,
furry and scurrilous. Drank it as soup.
They giggled at my clicking voice, my mud-caked stomach,
my scum-tinged roots.
Melanie Bell is a writer and Enneagram teacher from P.E.I., Canada, who currently lives in San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications including Art Animal, The Island Review, qu.ee/r, Jaggery, CV2, and Grain, and she is a past Managing Editor of Matrix Magazine. Her work can be found at MelanieBellWrites.com.
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