THE BATHING SCENE FROM MARGUERITE DURAS’S THE LOVER
By Joan Prusky Glass
“Very early in my life it was too late.”
– M. Duras, The Lover
I read The Lover when I was fifteen.
The girl’s red doll lips became my own.
The power she had over
the Chinese man mine too.
His weakness became fuel
for a journey I was preparing for.
I needed him and despised him
before I knew why.
There is a scene in which
the man, on his knees,
bathes the girl’s slender body,
She looks down at him coolly,
braids hanging over her shoulders.
Immodest on purpose.
The lover draws a washcloth
across her hips tenderly,
with grief in his eyes.
Perhaps he is trying to wash
away the power he gave her.
She notices him loving her
the way you might notice
a penny tossed into the well
when your pockets
are filled to the brim.
(Today’s poem originally appeared in TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Joan Prusky Glass lives with her husband and three children in Derby, Connecticut. She is an educator and child advocate by profession. Her poetry has been published or is upcoming in Decades Review, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Bone Parade, Milk Sugar, Harpweaver, Pyrokinection, Literary Mama, University of Albany’s Offcourse, The Rampallian, Visceral Uterus, Up the River, Haggard & Halloo, vis a tergo and Smith College Alumnae Quarterly among others.
Editor’s Note: What draws us into today’s piece, and what makes us resist against it? Where does the reader’s experience end and the poet’s begin? Where does the poet dissolve into the girl; where does the girl begin and her author end? Is today’s feature about power? Scandal? Sex? Love?
Today Joan Prusky Glass blurs the lines between perception and art, between experience and literature, between revulsion and beauty. The poet paints a watercolor of words, one vivid pigment bleeding into the next, so that we are both moved and unsteady. We are left not knowing where we stand; unsure of the medium, of the players, of ourselves.
Want to read more by and about Joan Prusky Glass?
“Inanimate Objects,” Bone Parade
Three poems, Offcourse
“Boredom Never Killed Anyone,” Visceral Uterus
“On the Death of a Neighbor,” Haggard and Halloo
“The Poet as a Young Girl,” Decades Review