Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Poetry » Horror


"it's a good tub"

by Magebird

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

Warning! This poem goes into dark territory towards the end, so definitely read another one of my poems if you're not comfortable with that.

If you are, enjoy this poem. 

"it's a good tub"

my textbooks say
that the human body is
70% water and that
oil and water don't mix,
but the oil swirling around
my bare skin in
this porcelain tub
doesn't bother me.

it's only when i slide down
into the thick, yellow bath
and feel the olive oil sting
my eyes that i realize
someone lit a fire
underneath the tub's
golden feet.

"it's a good tub,"
they reassure me.
i can barely hear
their voices
as they rip pages
from my textbook
and drop them atop
the flames.

"are you sure?" i ask.
i prove chemistry ii's
assertion that

water and oil are immiscible
as i watch my sweat fall
down beneath the surface.

"you're a smart girl,"
they say as they throw
another semester's worth
of textbooks into
the fire.
"you'll know when
to get out."

no one tells me
how i'm supposed to climb
the porcelain when
my fingers are too oily
to grasp its sides.

i wonder if someone
ever noted in a textbook
that boiling human skin
smells like
chicken soup.

Author's Note: This poem was inspired by a dream Arcticus described over in this wall post a few days ago. When I saw him requesting people write a story about it, I knew what I had to do! I admit I didn't really know where it was going to go when I started it, but I'm pretty happy with the result. I'd really love feedback on the second-to-last stanza because I'm not entirely sure if it fits/is needed, but I'm grateful for any reviews this poem gets. 

Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.

Is this a review?



User avatar
19 Reviews

Points: 31
Reviews: 19

Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:00 pm
View Likes
koinoyokan wrote a review...

Hey MageBird!

Let me just say I really enjoyed this poem, horror, and more grotesque imagery is my cup of tea. After reading the prompt set by Arcticus I find your expansion of the idea to be refreshingly unique focusing on chemistry, instead of something more true crimeish. The continual wording of textbooks and pages made me see it as a metaphor for a student's experience in school, which is very likely to comply differently then what you were intending but impactful never the less. There are some very minor grammar mistakes but nothing that takes away from the flow of the piece. As for the second to last stanza, I really liked it as it goes along with my idea of helplessness and lack of guidance. It also adds imagery to my mind of someone fruitlessly trying to get out of a tub filled with oil but sliding back in.

User avatar
126 Reviews

Points: 6853
Reviews: 126

Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:12 pm
View Likes
Hkumar wrote a review...

Hi Magebird!

I won't lie I was feeling nervous to review your poem because I have seen your other works and I know you are such a great poet. I think you really did justice with the prompt that was given by Arc. Especially the fact that you incorporated chemistry in it (I have seen your wall posts about science stuffs so I guess you are a science enthusiast) made it more interesting. You began with giving a simple scientific fact and used it like a sarcasm.(To me it felt like that)

The image of a man being restrained in a large cauldron above a wood fire and surrounded by bone-nosed tribesman or a witch doing some ritual is usually what comes in my mind for such a situation. But here like you narrated, some mysterious people trying to boil you in this porcelain tub and using the pages of your textbooks to feed the fire while you are trying to argue by claiming facts from those books you have learnt. It's like someone is throwing away all the hard work you did into fire as if they have lost their worth.

I really liked the title "it's a good tub" and that you used it with quotes just the way it was mentioned in the form of a reassuring dialogue by one of those mysterious people. Though you marked it as horror for me most of it felt like a humor because of all those chemistry facts that you were using to reason the ongoing things.

"you'll know when
to get out."

This line too left me as a reader in dilemma, what actually those people meant. Was it just a sarcasm on their part or was their something you were actually supposed to figure out on your own, like some lesson or realization of something. The last stanza did give me spine-chilling feel and I guess it gave a nice closure to your poem.

Your lack of capitalization and minimum punctuation felt like a good stylistic choice to me for this poem. It added to the intense situation being talked about. The flow was quite nice in the poem and gave a continuous feel. Though one thing-
"are you sure?" i ask.
i prove chemistry ii's
assertion that

water and oil are immiscible
as i watch my sweat fall
down beneath the surface.

I think this two can be merged into a single stanza because I felt the flow broke here since the same thought was continuing in the next stanza. Well it's totally your choice, feel free to ignore this.^^

Also I was wondering why did you label it as 'Politics'. Is there something I am missing in this. I may have interpreted it in some wrong way. If so please do tell me. :)

Overall, I loved this poem and liked how you successfully used the idea given by Arcticus.
Great work!
Keep writing :D

Magebird says...

Thank you for the review!

This reply is definitely a little late, but I really wanted to reply to your review - especially since it's currently the only one on this poem. :)

I actually think the stanza that you mentioned didn't have a break when I wrote it over on WFP - I must have missed it when fixing up the formatting in the Publishing Center. So thanks for catching that! :)

Also, I thought politics was a fitting title because the theme of it was lowkey inspired by a general sense of ignorance I've seen in political news lately. Arc also mentioned thinking of it like a fable, so I thought relating it to politics would be a good connection to make.

Thank you again for your review, and let me know if you have any other questions about my work!

Be steadfast as a tower that doth not bend its stately summit to the tempest’s shock.
— Dante Alighieri