The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Bath by Jen Silverman

This selection, chosen by guest editor Katie Manning, is from Bath by Jen Silverman, released by Driftwood Press in 2022.

Bath 6


They dropped you in the river. They said
Praise Jesus, Praise Him. You bobbed up

half-drowned. You had seen clearly from
the bottom. Through the silt. Somewhere in

the river mud, you lost your God. So here
we are. And your long bones are light.

You are no longer tethered to this world.
You have un-believed yourself into liberty.

It does not feel like victory, you say,
to go from believing everything to nothing.

You doubt the reality of the sun, the wine,
your own long fingers, the rich moss, ice.

You return to water. Always, the water’s edge.
And I trail after, afraid you’ll stumble in,

reel yourself back to the bottom, back to a
reckoning, your face against the silt, your fingers

combing river-weed. I run you a bath.
I step into it in your stead. I lie at the

bottom, staring up through clear water, toward
the windows. I see nothing,

I see nothing but light.

Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer and playwright. Jen is the author of the debut novel We Play Ourselves and the story collection The Island Dwellers (Random House) which was longlisted for a PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Additional work has appeared in Vogue, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Sun, and elsewhere. Jen’s plays have been produced across the United States and internationally. Jen is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, a member of New Dramatists, and the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, the Yale Drama Series Award, and a Playwrights of New York Fellowship. Jen also writes for TV and film.

Katie Manning is the author of Hereverent (Agape Editions), Tasty Other (winner of the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award), and six chapbook collections, including How to Play (Louisiana Literature Press) and 28,065 Nights (River Glass Books). Her poem “What to Expect” was featured on the Poetry Unbound podcast, and her poems have appeared in HAD, Poet Lore, SWWIM, Stirring, Thimble, Verse Daily, and many other venues. Katie is the founder and editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University.


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