“Where should we start?” I ask.
“Maybe at either end,” shrugs the nurse.
We glance at each other – my love and I – and nod in agreement.
She takes the head, I take the feet, working towards each other.
“Nice and warm,” I say.
“Microwave,” says the nurse. “I can put in more if you want.”
“We should be alright,” I say. “She’s not very big.”
I pull her toes apart and clean in between.
“Wonderful!” she had sighed as I massaged hand cream into her soles, marvelling as her bird-like toes unfurled from their spasm. “Why didn’t you tell me you were so good at this?”
Tarsals. Metatarsals. What’s the anklebone called?
When the wipe cools, I drop it into the bedpan.
I work my way up her hairless shins and calves.
See my love lifting my mother’s breasts to clean places unseen.
I work my way up her thighs. Left and right. Front and back. Lifting her legs at the knee. Taking my time. Summoning courage.
I glance at my love.
When she nods, I take a fresh wipe and dive down the crease, deep into my mother’s groin, pretend I’m spring cleaning the house of my birth.