After The Bath, by Alfred George Stevens

Having donned her most
intimate apparel,
a lace-trimmed chemise
which billows in the water
just for this occasion,
and piled her auburn hair
upon her head, she knows
there’s no time like the present.

Like a bird in the nest,
his pocket watch and fob sit
in the soap dish instead
of his vest. No time at all
but to lean back and relax.
She holds three white roses
in one limp hand and leans
her head upon the other.

Below her elbow and subject
to the wet drips from the tub,
she has set a book on top
the lacey mound of her other
garments. A page hovers
on the point of being turned
to finish the sentence he has
tried to read to her more than once.

From one languid word
to the next, her pose sinks
deeper into water falling from hot
to tepid to even cooler. She turns
her head to look instead
at how the faucet reminds her
of a swan that, as if frozen, has
permanently arched its neck.