Lying on the massage table at the mudbaths

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after twelve minutes immersed in a tub of hot volcanic mud and twelve minutes in a bath of hot mineral water my heart thumps against the padded surface and I remember that I exist thanks to this mostly unremarked heart a thermodynamic system that chugs along blood in blood out every artery vein tiny capillary breathe in leafy oxygen breathe out CO2 and I understand with my hot pumping body that what I call self is inextricable from the body here on this table the flannel blanket absorbing particles of me as I slowly cool the New Age music bothering my sensibility like a persistent gnat the laugh track last night on the rerun of Friends the forgotten French vocabulary and Pythagorean Theorem the anxieties waiting to swarm when I return to my usual state every encounter and memory since my small hot self emerged on this planet till the engine finally stops and I cool for good and the cells of me transform into earth ash air as my spirit into yours as you read these words