I’m up to my neck in hot water, up to my eyeballs in the shared flesh of the mothers who pad softly across the tiles, some with a modest and inadequate white towel knotted under their breasts, others simply, unashamedly clothed in the pleasure of their own skin. We’re a menagerie of no mean proportions; one woman looks like a stork, skinny, mottled legs beneath a huge wobbly behind. Another is massively elegant, like a rhino lowering herself to the blessing of water. There are the young Asian girls, dark nipples like the centers of black-eyed Susans, their slim waists and the slight buds of their hipbones like the beginnings of antlers on yearling deer. There are two black women, rosy bronze shoulders, legs like trees, their hair tied up in strips of marigold sun-cloth from Kenya. No such beast as white here; the heat draws color to everyone’s skin, just different shades of terra cotta, peach, blood honey. I’m part fish, floating unanchored, all breath and bubbles in this place where their bodies are my body, are all our body, the childbirth scars, the folded breasts, the innocent long crack bisecting the buttocks, the dark country of the labia as one hoists herself up awkwardly onto the wet tiles and another slips shyly then surely into the water.