Archive for the ‘“Shim”’ Category


By Barbara Sweeney

I release myself
to the woman in white.
The table beneath me, warm,
my skin from the hot springs pool,
warm, and now Shim’s hands
insistent in their own heat.
We do not speak,
only nod and bow,
as she bends to loosen
the cold, knotted cord of my spine.
I breathe to the heels of her palms.

Afterward, I return to the pools
and the other women.
We steam in silence like pale,
exotic plums, sweat
slipping from our skins,
appetites forgotten, save one,
and I say the name that makes me forget –