ALEC PREVETT – “Volume and Displacement”


Lay in the bathtub. Fill it to the rim
with water. Settle in. Notice what

spills out. Keep record of the space
you occupy. Think about your funeral,

what it would be like if you had to have it today.
Think about your mother ordering your coffin:

it has to hold exactly this much water,

she’ll say, gesturing to your bathroom floor,
its green tiles, its soaked cotton mat. Your coffin

will not be right; she will not account for what is trapped
in your cotton mat. But don’t think about that now—your funeral

is not today.

Think about sharing your bathtub
with someone else—think about bathing

with someone else. How cold do they like their water?
How much do they displace? What if

they aren’t sure? Do not ask them to measure—
they might not want you to know yet. There might be a lot

that they don’t want you to know yet. Anyone can ask
anything in a bathtub—it is difficult to be naked

and dishonest. They might ask you anything, like:

have you ever shared a bath?
would you say noif I asked you to again?
do you even like to share?

and you might have to answer even if you do not
know the answers to those questions, or the answers to:

why are you afraid to let me wash your hair?
haven’t you ever washed someone?

Think about where you are when they are asking you.  Are you
facing them, in the tub, with your knees between their knees,

or are you lying against their chest? Are your arms resting
on the rim, or are they crossed? Are you touching at all?


Alec Prevett lives and writes in Atlanta with a chubby calico cat named Patches. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Riggwelter Press, Neon Journal, and gutwrench. journal. His twitter handle is @alecprevett


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