Ingrid Wendt As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Because I'd once been told what women always had done-- though never how, or why--after you died, the last tube taken out and gone, and they offered to leave us alone, I asked if I could wash you. The soapy water was warm, as you were, still, and soft. The basin was round. The towels and washcloths thick and white. And there was no strangeness in it, really. And I didn't cry, and that, too, was part of the wonder. I began with one smooth, pliant arm. As once you daily must have done with me, as once you must have done at your own mother's death, I carefully dipped one cloth, and carefully wrung it, and carefully bathed the whole freckled length of your arm, your docile hand, each finger light in its yielding. And though you had no choice in acquiescing to my love, I did not revel in my power, but slowly lifted, washed and patted dry each limb, in turn, your crooked toes and in between the toes; your shoulders, breasts, the secret folds between your legs, thin pubic hairs,
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Aug 20, 2007
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