She piled the tub with dried wild flowers and fresh lilacs and violets and scented the bath with rosewater and a few drops of oil of clove. She had scrubbed Stanko's stinking tub for days in preparation for the ritual, alternating scrubbings with butter, sea salt, and Comet cleanser, driving away all traces of his blood and shit, his foetid breath.
She prepared herself as well, scrubbing each inch of her skin and the bodily orifices with sisal cloths that had been barely dampened in a solution of boiled oatmeal water and the skins of blood oranges she had had to go all the way to Roanoke to find. She used a dried loofa to clear away the chaff of dried skin then sponged herself with witch hazel until she shone.
Once, likewise, she had prepared herself for her Portuguese lover. Once, likewise, she had given birth in fragrant water to the blue infanta that the Satan Stanko killed. At his conception the sperm flowed in a white billow like the lace of bubbles surrounding the dark diver in his cocoon.
When the water was ready she set sail like Ophelia over the falls.