This is What It's Like
When the boys were small, I changed
diapers full of shit and pee, marshaled baby
wipes out of their plastic box with crisp precision,
one after the other standing at scented, moist attention.
It was just an ordinary devotion, the same as today
with my mother's twisted spine naked under
the shower's pitiless spray. I kneel
by the open door, soapy washcloth
taking terrible liberties, steam condensing
on my face like tears. The water runs
in yellow brown rivulets, twining
down her legs. I wait until it clears,
my stomach heaving the way it never did.