Ode To The Toilet

By Samantha Wallen

Your thin cold rim
has startled me awake
more times than I can count
brought me to my knees
in ceremonial prostrations
to hang my head low & deep
in the coolness of your bowels
to express my sins all night
in sick & drunken confessionals
hell Mary’s & promises of redemption
or to bow down and take my vows
in the lineage of women who as girls
have had haloed brushes shoved in
the palm of their hands by their mothers
to become apprentices in the craft
of cleaning, anointing & blessing you
in holy blue liquid Lysol waters
the same way Mary Magdalen
washed & anointed Jesus’s feet
before his crucifixion.
Isn’t this what you deities do?
Wake us up to what we can’t see
within ourselves or within the dark night
where someone has left us
to prostitute ourselves on
the the porcelain edge
with our pants down & the seat up
so we might fall straight in
to what we have done
the ways we have missed
our goals, disappointed each other
& let ourselves go?
Day after day you
swallow what I can’t
bear to live with
day after day you
receive me unconditionally
day after day you
flush me up to consciousness
ordain me in what can never be
wiped clean.
Oh your heavy lid
your dank clank & gritty rub
your dangling chain, black
ribbed fat floaty bulb
your elegant s-curve
silly symmetrical knobs
your symphonic slush of sound
your willingness to give back
what we try to hoard and stuff down
Oh how we don’t like it
when you offer us back up
to ourselves so we can see
just how much you sustain
& maintain our dignity.
You my ceramic queen
are the great equalizer
the ubiquitous altar
where each of us come to pray
& touch our shared humanity
every day.

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