I Saw The Air

By Peter Halstead

I saw the air this morning
Leap from water without warning,
Made of pollen that the spring
And open, unscreened windows bring,
Landing on our limpid surfaces
At admittedly cross purposes,
Falling from the heavens when
It really means to mount again,
A suggestive sort of sunrise
From the Kohler's fluid skies,
Sexy particles that flounce
Around the hidden thermal founts
Which populate the steamy air
Above a bathtub's glassy lair,
Come to pollinate the nude
With a field's solicitude,
The workings of the heights made clear
In their lower hemisphere.

Tippet Alley
July 16th, 2002, 9:32–9:37 AM


I’d been myopically poking about the mysteries of the tub for a few decades, and yet here was an early morning light show that had entirely escaped me.
I wasn’t sure what was throwing the flocculent particles into the slanting sunlight, but the surface of the tub seemed to be coated with a film of dust, and the doorstops were coated with the yellow pollen peculiar to the grassy mating season. We had been in Paris for three months, and things in Colorado were dirty: a good argument against spring cleaning.
I experimented, moving about in the tub, which seemed to be the genesis of the dust display (the fireworks of filth), and each time the amount of dancing ash lessened. When I waited a minute, I got better results; I assumed the dust had had time to rearrange itself on the water.
The tub itself was, as always, coated with thousands of submarine bubbles, but they seemed, suspicious as they were, to have nothing to do with the volcanic release above, as they remained happily clinging everywhere in similar numbers despite my sloshing about.
The dust was grey, although the early sun turned it amber, so I can at least posit my romantic theory that I had been let in on the inner secrets of the pollen people, rather than the more cynical interpretation that I was taking a dust bath, which had been revealed by clean light.
In any case, what better use for a bath than to apotheosize dirt? Whichever way you look at it, I had come clean in the tub. No doubt only fools see rainbows in dust. Of course, it is supremely egotistical to think I had personally provided the dirt. Such effects spring from the deus ex machina, translated as the absence of maids.