Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Naked, eye-to-eye with a shampoo bottle,
I am drawn again and
again to the image on the back label
of a flop-eared rabbit surrounded
by the scarlet circle with bold diagonal –
is it verboten, forbidden? –Do they
mean to stamp out all bunnies?
Is that wholesome herbal scent
mere perfume masking the ghastly smoke
from some critter crematoria, some wild hare holocaust?
No, of course not – for beside the bunny
is a phrase for the ages: “Cruelty-free”.
They mean they don’t test on animals, but
“Cruelty-free”…I marvel at the thought, am dazzled
by the clarity of the vision, pierced through by this
shaft of shining idealism…“Cruelty-free”…
What saints these sudsy entrepreneurs must be,
what enlightened and angelic avatars!
Which bright star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania stood
watch over the Bodhisattvas’ birth?
To think – no childhood insults uttered,
no resentful outbursts to the parents of
our teen-aged trauma-drama,
no slights to the undesired suitor, no lover
wounded as we wrenched free
from the wreckage of romance gone bad!
And what a heaven it must be to work in their factory! No
boss would ever threaten a tired wage-earner, no office gossip
would ever poison the ear of a co-worker
as they labor together to infuse
their magic potion with all the fearless love and
compassion of the Mahatma’s great soul.
For years I’ve washed and rinsed
and rinsed again,
hoping to cleanse the filmy residue
from my too human self,
never knowing there was a product
of such amazing purity available.
But perhaps this is the only bottle?!
Perhaps this honeyed liquid is too precious
to be wasted on my daily hygienic routine?
What would be the effect of
a few drops carefully mixed into
the water supply at the White House?
Could we cleanse the tar and fossil fuels
from a few reptilian brains?
Could the motto of our next administration
be Schweitzer’s imperative, “reverence for life”?
Oh plastic vessel, worthy beyond Keats’ Grecian urn,
I will treasure your sacred message
and enshrine it in our nation’s heart!Let us begin a new day, a new millennium…Cruelty-free.