Sixteen at the Spa by Deborah Bacharach

Sixteen at the Spa

In the hushed low
lit locked room, back when
no one but sailors and sluts
strutted with tattoos, I watch a butterfly shimmer
droplets above
the nipple of a stranger’s
pale smooth breast.

The cook sears
meat raw to ready.
Steam fills me before
I bite any flesh.

We all can strip.
From my treasure chest, a thousand
mourning cloaks and monarchs
lift and hum.


Deborah Bacharach is the author of Shake & Tremor (Grayson Books, 2021) and After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Her poems, essays and book reviews have been published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry Ireland Review, Vallum, Cimarron Review, New Letters and Poet Lore among many others. She is a college writing instructor, editor, and tutor and teaches poetry workshops for children. Find out more about her at

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