While your husband is still able to stand

you fasten the tabs
by reaching around from behind,
and your wrist is tickled by his hairy
middle, while you lean in, close your
eyes, and pause to smell the skin on his back.

When your husband tells you to call
what he’s been wearing diapers
because that’s what they are,
you do.

His head lowers as you finish the job.

When you get groceries, he encourages you to
take your time, enjoy being without him,
not to rush home, he is clean. He will be find.

No matter how many times you tell
him it doesn’t matter to you,
you will be unable to unburden him.

Upon learning, as you set down the groceries,
he has called an aid, instead of you,
a gift to you, the way he used to do
the vacuuming, or bring you flowers,
your own head will lower.

You will place the ice-cold coffee you have
brought him, beside his chair and thank him
for being alive.

 

About the Poet:  Deirdre Fagan is a widow, newlywed, and mother of two who has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in Connotation Press, Eunoia ReviewInk Sweat & TearsMuddy River Poetry ReviewWords Apart, and Yellow Chair Review, among others.  She teaches literature and writing at Ferris State University where she is also the coordinator of creative writing.  Meet her at deirdrefagan.com

 

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