I wrote this four years ago to the day: 12/30/04. I place it here now
because I just came back from seeing the marvelous movie
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and it made me remember
this poem. So - here it is again.
(30 December 2004)
"Put on your robe. I'll help you to the bathtub,
mom." A calm like church as the assemblage
of her terry-clothed fragility held onto you as
both of you walked slowly down the hall.
A bath-seat waited, and you turned a gentle rush
of water on, and helped her slip out of her robe,
and surely as she'd commandeered your baby body
more than fifty years before, you helped her,
naked, lift her spindle legs above the porcelain,
and past the shower door, to settle on the stool,
willing that the water be the right degree of warm.
You swallowed your amazement at her girlish form.
You wonder at this moment - soaping, rinsing,
drying the frail dying woman who had lent you life -
overcoming everything that ought to have
forbidden it. You can't imagine how you did it.