Sunday, August 29, 2010

Poem: Watching My Lover by Lorna Crozier


I watch him hold his mother
as she vomits in a bowl.
After, he washes her face
with a wet cloth and we try
to remove her soiled gown
tied in the back with strings.

Unable to lift her
I pull the green cotton
from under the blankets, afraid
I’ll tear her skin.
He removes the paper diaper,
No one has taught us
how to do this, what to say.
Everything’s so fragile here
a breath could break you.

She covers her breasts with hands
bruised from tubes and needles,
turns her face away.
It’s okay, Mom, he says.
Don’t feel shy. I’ve undressed
dozens of women in my time.
In this room where lover
bares his mother, we three laugh.

Later, I curl naked beside him
in our bed, listen to his sleeping,
breath by breath. So worn out
he burns with fever — the fires
his flesh light to keep him
from the cold.

Though he has washed
I smell her on his skin
as if she has licked him
from head to toe
with old woman’s tongue
so everyone who lies with him
will know he’s still
his mother’s son.

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