First there were three:
my love my Dad, and I,
bonded by near deaths, altered states,
Husband and father laid low,
then lifted up by strokes of fate.
Related in-law and by unmanly disability:
second father, first son, daughter-wife.
one found new life in caring,
one the son he never had,
and I, a family of three.
Then there were two.
As if wifely grief were not enough,
I got to fill empty arms
with withered, fragile, father-flesh
and, drowning old paradigms…wash him.
No hiding from this
I soaped and scrubbed, and dried
the loins that gave me life.
He cried, helpless, shivering,
against the cold
and choice-less age.
Nearer the end, all dignities aside,
me, stripped to shorts and tee,
Dad, pale trembling flesh In the shower,
wet with water and filial tears: our finest hour.
Time circled around as he clung to me,
afraid to fall.
(Remembering… my first two-wheeler:
he ran beside, held me up
when I was afraid to fall).
New divinity discovered,
worlds away from where we were:
my Father, naked in the shower.
meaning that, childless, I never hoped to know: