Monday, November 18, 2019

Washing My Mother

"Put on your robe. I'll get 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. You’d placed
a bath-seat in the tub, you’d turned a gentle rush
of water on, now help her slip out of her robe,
and just as she had commandeered your baby
body more than fifty years before, you lift her,
naked, hold her spindle legs above the porcelain,
and past the shower door, to settle on the seat,
willing that the water be the right degree of warm.
You swallow your amazement at her girlish form.
You wonder at this moment – soaping, rinsing,
drying the frail dying naked woman who had lent
you life – managing to quell the overwhelming “No!”
determined to forbid it. You can't imagine how you
did it. But now you can. The loving coolness of
her hand! She understood. You understand.

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