Still there, on the lip of the bathtub, quiet.
They said we shouldn’t eat fish—none of us, anymore, as a species, because it was so full of plastic.
On the lip of the bathtub, quiet, where I would set my red wine and stack of magazines and sit and sip and sit and read.
You joined me in the bathtub only once. I nestled my hips into the crook of yours and leaned back against your chest, but I kept slipping, so we laughed and laughed our way to bed.
The cat watched. The cat always watched. When we were finished, the cat licked and nipped our knees and elbows.
We got the conch in Florida in a kitschy shop. We drove and drove past orange fields full of bodies laboring in hot hot sun then out onto the endless bridges, all the way down to Key West. We waved to Cuba.
The cat perched on the bathtub’s lip, only once stepped in onto my knees, and I held my breath so as not to startle her, so she wouldn’t fall in, all fur and claws and teeth.
I haven’t taken a bath in a while, in a good long while.
Remember the Thanksgiving we all sat around the table and joked in horror about how cats will eat your corpse’s eyeballs first.
Remember when you held the shell to my ear and said “listen to the ocean” and I said “that’s just the sound of everything.”
I keep sitting in the empty bathtub, remember the cat pawing at my knees, listen to the shell, listen for the sound of everything.
© Kate Finegan
[This piece was selected by Damyanti Biswas. Read Kate’s interview]