Mister Chu while bathing

He wrote a poem
a time ago now
concerned with the reading
of Primo Levi
in the bathtub.

So many years later
he was reading again about Primo
(as though they were somehow
on first name terms)
while alone and bathing.

Much has happened to him,
although the story of Mister Levi
has remained the same
and his feelings also
are no different.

In the human re-telling
(two old friends met at a bus stop)
his highlights of the years
intervening would be held up
for pity.

This death, that sickness,
a divorce and a broken heart.
Days of difficulty, guilt
a recrimination of geography
but still.

In today’s polished white container
with soft towel at the ready
and sun through the window
he realizes he is as a blank book
clean, unworried and unwritten

and gives a modicum of thanks
not out of any lack
of true and simple gratitude
but because it would be unseemly
to revel too much in such a safe obscurity.