Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bathhouse

“Follow the women and children to the white door in the medina, just past the bakery” we are told. We find the hammam with little fuss on our first afternoon in Marrakesh.

The attendant takes our money but gives no instruction. After removing our clothes, we head through the bathhouse chambers, feel the aged wet heat on our faces, and breathe the thick, stony languor of the walls. Columns of scalding water pummel through ageing copper pipes.

Until this moment, the women had been the silent, unseen half of Moroccan culture, but little mystery now remains. Heavy and darkly glistening against the walls, each behind a fortress of buckets, sucking oranges and scrubbing themselves - until they see us. We stand, all the more naked without a bucket between us.

a fish
leaps from the pond

Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose, Issue 1, Summer 2009

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