Bathing a Friend

BATHING A FRIEND

 

How slowly

I lift the cloth,

drenched,

gather it all

gently.

My friend does not move

sits hunched

over her shame.

What did it once

absorb?  this body

was a child’s.

I want the cloth

to be covered

in water.

Only water

which has no edges

may touch

this woman’s skin.

Some drops fall

to the nape of her neck, then

the weight of the cloth,

soft mound.

My hand

adds no pressure.

Water

takes hold and draws

the cloth towards the skin.

Water

pulls down

the soft groove of her spine

where the light

flows golden and slides

along the rise

of her hips—that too

is slow.

Deeply hidden,

is something that won’t

be forced.

It moves

in the dark

in its own

time.

No cloth can push it,

no full

with waiting 

hands.