The Bath

I rested naked as he ran

hot water over my body.

Gentle hands. Soft

and careful across my chest,

arms, hands. I thought of

you. Desperate grasping to

think of a million other things. You

persisted—filled with memories

I hadn’t remembered. Of being

washed in the sink: naked, young,

helpless. You must have been happy

then (though I have no way to verify

this.) I remember you singing (likely

wishful thinking—I cannot remember your

voice) a song that sounds like no song

I have ever heard. He washed me on

the table: naked, older, made helpless

by grief. I began to cry—did i hurt you?

No, my mother died. Running water

to burn away the grieving, leaving

some clean stranger waiting

for the end of time. Humming:

soft and knowing (but only if

I listen). A lullaby from his mother

Russia as he holds my hand. A

quick exchange of sons

losing childhood. We are remnants

of ancestral grief, unrelenting,

knowing, screaming, mourning,

saying nothing at all.

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