Lavoir

I thought about the word for washtub
my aunt used to use. It flashed back
into the shadows of a faded memory
she talked of God’s finger in the clouds above
when asked how many of us wanted
to go to heaven, I didn’t raised my hand.
she went on about love and damnation
greed, hunger and strife, but her voice
did not seem to embody the word
as I knelt
to wipe the soap off
your forehead
as I squeezed the cloth the word
came to me
pressed against my tongue
the sound tapped against
the back of my spine
Lavoir,
as I opened my hand to you
with a tub of water, sponge
and a cloth homing in to your aged face
and the word Lavoir kept on pursuing me
unrelenting rising up
as I felt your despair in that washtub,
as I felt our memories
being wiped away,
and I still could not ask for
God’s salvation
I still could not raise my hand.

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