the sauna

14 Oct

Not sure why,

but I am compelled to cook this body.

As my skin pinks, I feel

my thoughts leaving –

squeezed out in beads of sweat.

I hear the racquetball bouncing so loud off the walls

that I think the sounds I hear

may be coming from the walls of my cranium,

being played like an instrument.

I am a hollowed-out gong,

listening to the ricochet off spine vibrating

low to high notes of emptiness.

The glue that holds it all together has melted

and a heel bone is floating free.

A recurring conversation is heard

(by whose ears?)

in the women’s locker room outside,

between a motherless girl and a worker.

They are searching everywhere for the small girl’s mother, Mary.

Mary may be in the pool – they leave to go see.

Mary is not in the pool.

Mary may be in the spin class – they leave again

and return.

Mary may be in the sauna.

I feel their eyes as they peer through the glass door at me:

Are you Mary?

No. I say.  I am not Mary.

Are you this girl’s mother?

No. I say, as the girl stares in my face

as if she is wondering if I may be Mary, if I may be her mother,


Could the sauna be a high-tech machine

from the future?

In you go as you,

out you come as another?

Am I only half-baked into my new form?

I feel unsure.

I could be Mary after all.

Who is now sitting in this little, hot box?

They leave again to go search.

For Mary.

A woman appears in the glass,

fiddling with the heat button.

Catching sight of me,

she beams – white teeth, bright eyes;

she goes

to the mirror to fix her hair.

I feel this face still beaming back at her long after she has left.

Soon this body moves to leave;

where does the will to move begin?

I am sure in this moment that the body moves

and the mind follows, like a dog following its master

and not the other way around.

What life am I returning to?

Stepping from the heat,

as the girl and I are reunited,

my thoughts are full of ice cream

and balloons, and she shall

tell me where we live.

11 Responses to “the sauna”

  1. tiramit October 15, 2014 at 12:13 am #

    “I am sure in this moment that the body moves
    and the mind follows, like a dog following its master
    and not the other way around…”
    There’s something about this that’s so familiar, everything about the unfolding of the scene, a kind of before-the-event or maybe it was after, pleasing ease…

    • marga t. October 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

      I thought of you as I was writing the unfolding in present tense – such a blending of selves anymore. So grateful to have been along on many of your present moments!

  2. Michael October 15, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    Enchanting, Marga. It all leads me to wonder, how do any of us know that we’re not Mary? Mary is clearly needed, so if she cannot be located, the task will obviously fall to one of us.

    Perhaps it was a scary moment for the girl, an innocent moment for the mother, and a peeking through the doorway of your own being for you. A satisfactory denouement resulted through the cooperation of ten spatial dimensions and two flavors of time. But the racquetball… That racquetball was obviously up to something…


    • marga t. October 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

      It WAS a scary moment for the girl, created in part by the concerned worker, which created the strangeness of the mary’s daughter studying my face in such a way as to give me pause in my identity. What has lingered with me, Michael, from your words, particularly, is the phrase, “an innocent moment for the mother.” Within these words, I see a still shot of your compassion in motion – and I hung it on the great wall of kindness. Of course, of course, you can see it, these dimensions and times swirling together to reveal for all, with endless empathy and compassion, in such contrast to the knee jerk judging sometimes witnessed within and without. I will be back to investigate the mystery of the racquetball’s message soon.

  3. Hariod Brawn October 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    The old identity evaporates; our former image leaving only a trace of condensation upon the mirror; a little water ladled upon the coals – ‘swoosh’ and the form disappears, and then slowly reappears through the mists, but now more ghostly than before.

    Most evocative Marga, and as Michael says, enchanting too – it must be a mixed-gender sauna. Your intuitions about the body preceding the mind are accurate, at least in any dualistic conception of the two – that’s another sweaty workout though.

    All best wishes.


    • marga t. October 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      Finally, here you are, Mary.

      I think I have stumbled upon the portal here in my corner of the continent where we all meet as Mary.

      One day I entered the sauna to find an asian woman whacking her body with a paddle. Sharing the space that day transported me to another exotic realm – I kept wondering when she paused if she were going to pass me the paddle. I imagine I would have given it a go.

      Beyond the way my language now reveals the dualistic categories, I gaze through the mist into the riddle of one, not two, but as you say…another workout. So grateful for the uniqueness of the Hariod lens!
      xo! marga

  4. tocksin October 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Hello friend, I came here looking to read you but you have stalled the union. What are your thoughts today, what adheres?

    • marga t. October 17, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      such a nice thing, to have you visit and effort to inquire 🙂 The question of my thoughts and adherents quiets my mind and I have no answer. here’s one, maybe, though none too interesting; I went to a faculty meeting yesterday in which there was drinking and found myself lingering for hours, many hours and much silliness with these academics 😉 Why did I stay and stay, was it the drink? I observed in myself my desire for human connection in the presence of others while seeing that so rare is it that we find those with whom we are naked and true – which sends me back into the sitting, observing, solitude in nature where the connection feels more evident and organically available for me than with humans. Your marital dance nicely contrasts in my thoughts. What adheres? That will keep me dancing for days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: