I was giving her a shower.
I’m there for two hours to help with
personal care:

make sure she brushes her teeth,
settles down with a word search,
remind her it’s Tuesday.
after towel drying her so they could put on the
hemorrhoid cream,
I handed her a comb
and began rubbing lotion over her legs;
smooth like a child’s
the veins were still tucked behind flesh:
invisible with a firm,
earned elasticity.

you must have taken good care of yourself.

I enjoyed rubbing them.
years of tall glasses of water
running through those hidden blue streams
electrifying her cells,
tightening the gaps that so many of us
have       she chose
crackers with avocado instead of Nutella,
early retirement on fluffy pillows,
watching the dawn cut the sky,
deadlines and
filing nails.
she was just so full of tranquility,
days worth spending,
responsible parables,
a mother who taught her how to bake bread ,
crack eggs and iron hems.
 she contemplated and said:

I like your dark eyes.

pacing the harbor with a flask
and a plan to really “do it this time,”
a hoard of sycophantic worker bees
who show me what their insides look like,
sleepy evenings that end in the bottom of
everyone, mislaid plays written in
spilled finger paint,
sprinkles of tobacco on the seat,
thirsty kidneys,
a camouflaged abuse that taught me how to
cower at words, a man’s
love and
bedroom hair that screams,
cries that  freeze beneath my cheeks
before they learn to creak
turn to moans
melt on tongues
when touched in heat.

my eyelashes hurt.
my wrists feel like stone.
my spine is crooked like
the broken flute they cracked
out of temper when I wouldn’t
play  the right way but
my legs are tall, ancient
and rough like
sequoias; uprooting and
walking forward.
it’s day and I’m awake
but my head is full
of horror.
I face her,
southern and
polite and
touch her shoulder

thank you.

still so full of



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