Fat Man In A Bathtub

By Pam Anderson

Maybe it’s because they called you Bubbles
at home or Dough Boy when other
eighth graders spied the trail
of cupcake crumbs stuck to your B.B. King
t-shirt.  But no matter the Why’s or If Only’s
or Could Have Been’s
it’s Saturday night
and you’re home with yet another TV
evangelist squawking from your Mom’s
bedroom.  The ten o’clock whistle
busts through the half-opened windows and That Damned
Cat flexes her claws through the black
serge of your work pants and starts to lick
hamburger grease from the fabric.
You shove her away, trundle
to the bathroom and fill the tub to the brim.
Steam paces around the room
like fog in the swamp behind the house and you ease in

foot  foot  leg  leg  thigh  thigh  ass

displacing buckets of water onto the cracked
linoleum and into your pile
of dirty clothes.  It feels great to let the Boys
float free like three drinking buddies on a fishing
excursion, so you close your eyes and belt
out The Thrill is Gone and you sing and sing
and your Dad pounds on the wall and yells
Keep it down in there.   But still you sing.
By God.
You sing.

Pam Anderson earned her MFA in poetry from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program, during which time she was awarded a Bisbee Fellowship and was honored with an Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Project for “My Brother’s Coat.” These days, she mostly writes about Czechoslovakia from 1938-1945, with poems from her as-yet-unpublished Holocaust manuscript appearing in Mason’s Road, JennyMag, and Controlled Burn and forthcoming in The Listening Eye. Her blog is A Million Kisses: Holocaust Letters from Czechoslovakia to Cleveland. She works for Kent State University as a geographic advancement officer and lives partly in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and partly in Northeast Ohio.

5 thoughts on “Fat Man In A Bathtub

  1. Peggy Carter says:

    Wow Pam, this is wonderful. This alimented young man is so clearly drawn that I can feel the hot bath water and feel it splashing. Thanks for sharing it.


  2. Holly Claire Clark says:

    Dear Pam—-loved “Fat Man in the Bathtub”. I smiled. then laughed. Thanks for sharing . Images and simile very strong . Will share with my Tom. We’re still writing poetry together.

    Miss you. Miss everyone. Taking a hiatus from WKSU ’til September. Love, Holly


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