Excerpts > Spring 2003

Joan I. Siegel
Mother & Daughter

Mother & Daughter
for my sister

Maybe it is not the words
you have waited all your life
for her to speak or
your own words knotted
under your tongue.

What matters after all
is comforting the body
bathing her
oiling the dried skin
arms and hands
scars on the belly
an act of devotion
for both of you
which she may have forgotten already
which you will never forget:

how it was
after anger had burned itself out
and there was only
the wash cloth in your hand
warm water
the pale sick skeleton
of an old woman lying on the sheets.

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