from Stupid Hope by Jason Shinder (1955-2008).
Your unmistakable breasts, plain, finely wrinkled, strained
but not crushed. You were no longer embarrassed to be naked
each time you undressed. And I didn’t turn my gaze downward.
All your beautifulness, despite the loose skin hanging inches
from your bones. And the unshaven legs.
You weren’t thinking you could rest against me either, even
when you tried. Thank you, mother. You let me see you unprotected,
full of doubt, miserable. So I could know you were still alive,
so I could know what loving someone looked like.