I walk out under a dark blue, faintly luminescent sky
The moon, one day past full, shines down on the hot tub
My morning routine has become an anti-viral
struggle against the pandemic
Water clear, thin islands of bubbles, 103 degrees, check
faint odor of bromine, check
I still have my sense of smell, check
I slip into the tub, sliding down until the water reaches my ears,
my head tilted back so the bottom of my chin just touches the water
the beginning of my thirty-minute soak
in a dilute bleach solution
Submerge completely, so face and hair are soaked, check
Mentally examine each limb,
abdomen, crotch, lungs, no pain, check
Shoulder and back do not ache,
made it through the night without anti-inflammatories, check
Here and there a bright star winks;
most are washed out by the glare of the moon.
I turn my back on it, facing east
a dog is barking somewhere over there.
It’s good to hear it bark.
Breathing exercises, inhale, hold, exhale(one)
Breathing, unobstructed, pain free, check
no coughing, check
I continue breathing deeply, counting each breath
inhale, hold, exhale (four)
my mind wanders. I was asked to identify truffles,
a fungus I have only passing familiarity with.
Distracted, base level of anxiety, check
not fully preoccupied with pandemic threat, check
I turn around and face the moon,
shining through the oaks, white,
bright as a bare bulb, yet somehow comforting
the dog has stopped barking
nightbirds call to each other
It’s good to hear them sing
I sip my tea
The tea is strong, black, bitter and aromatic.
the temperature is perfect,
hot, just shy of scalding.
I still have my sense of taste, check
The moon, birds, the crisp still air, the warm, comforting soak
I still have my sense of enjoyment
Somewhere in the distance, an orchard fan throbs
Not loud, not obtrusive, but rhythmic
I climb dripping from the tub and stand naked in the cool air,
glistening in the moonlight
A rooster crows,
It’s good to hear it crow.