I like to steep in a bath once a week. I turn the lights down low in my bathroom, light an incense cone, Clorox wipe the tub, and fill it with hot, steamy water. I toss in some of these bath salts if I’m having a real treat-yourself moment. Otherwise: 3 cups of Epsom salts, 8 drops of lavender essential oil, 6 drops of rosewood essential oil, and 4 of tea tree.

I leave my bathroom door open so that my dog can come in if he wants. We have an agreement that if he can keep himself from doing anything weird like trying to get in the bath, he can lay down beside the tub and keep me company while I soak. He knows that I like my solitude and I know that he yearns to be in my lap, so we compromise.

I usually have a book. Lately, it’s poetry. Ada Limon’s Bright Dead Things. Sometimes this anthology. Poetry is better in the bath. When else can you tell your computer to so thoroughly buzz off than when submerged in a pool of technology-killing liquid? Poetry thrives where the computer dies.

Sometimes, I put my ears under to listen to the alien sound of the bathwater moving against the porcelain. Then, I lift my ears and the water glug glug glugs out of them.

After I’m done simmering and my skin is cooked and pink and my mind is full of the thoughts of someone else, I drain the tub. My dog licks the tub when it’s empty because he can’t keep himself from doing something bizarre for too long. I remove the mascara that is almost certainly all over my face. I put a nice-smelling lotion on my arms and legs. I wipe my face with a rosewater-soaked cotton pad. I wrap myself in a blanket. I have a cup of strong peppermint tea. I give my dog a carrot to reward his good-ish behavior. Then, I go to sleep and have peaceful dreams.

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