Leeya Mehta

Nudes I & II
February 21, 2018 Mehta Leeya




Bathhouse, Hakone, Japan

Once she crosses the threshold
she takes off her clothes.
Mirrors in the room register her body
but for now they are superfluous;
later, when she re-enters the familiar world,
she may care how she looks, her face
perfectly poised at the moment of reflection.

She follows the other women to the line of showers,
sits on a plastic stool,
slowly washes her hair with liquid soap.
Her body scrubbed clean
she soaks in the bone hot bath,
as steam from the springs opens her pores,
pixelated flowers in bloom.
Beyond, mountains and still lake
protect a red core of magma, resting, scalding.

All are naked here, she is
a recognizable female form
of no differentiated quality.




Bathhouse, Centreville, Virginia

Her friends are getting older; laughter sits deep in their bodies,
and spills out of their eyes like the morning sun.
She could not tell you if they are physically like her
or unlike her even though they are naked today,
hidden only occasionally by water.
She does not look at them for comparison,
does not measure their smallness or girth
for they are not sexual things.
Between steam and ice and clay and stone
who is watching? No one.





Leeya Mehta is a prize-winning poet and fiction writer. Leeya has a column on the literary life, The Company We KeepShe is the author of a chapbook The Towers of Silence and A Story of the World Before the Fence. Her work has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, District Lit, Gargoyle, Poetry London, Vinyl Poetry, and Why Nicht? amongst others. Leeya grew up in Bombay and was a Radhakrishnan Scholar at Oxford University. You can find her latest work here: https://leeyamehta.com/