She is home from the hospital—right arm strapped to her side and across her chest, immovable. The empty right sleeve of her shirt sways like a metronome, setting the tempo as she walks gingerly across the muddy lawn and up the steps to the house.
home at last—
greeting the dog
Three times a day I have to undo the straps and carefully straighten her arm, easing it against the spasms of muscle cramp. Lurid paisley bruises cover her chest, and a tiny line of stitches march millipede fashion across her collarbone. For ten minutes, three times a day, she has to remain motionless:
the third time
that same cryptic crossword
Neither of us is ready for this role reversal. Not knowing where to look as I give her a sponge bath, trying to remain impersonal and unembarrassed as I soap her breasts, her nipples becoming erect in the cross draft from the door as I pat her dry . . . silly. I am the age she was when she gave birth to me.
my mother’s breasts—
we both giggle