January 20, 2013 in Features

American Life in Poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-’06
 

Here’s a lovely poem for the caregivers among us, by Terri Kirby Erickson, who lives in North Carolina.

Sponge Bath

Draped in towels,

my grandmother sits in a hard-backed

chair, a white bowl

of soapy water on the floor.

She lifts her frail arm, then rests it,

gratefully, in her daughter’s palm.

Gliding a wet

washcloth, my mother’s hand

becomes a cloud, and every bruise, a rain-

drenched flower.

Poem copyright 2011 by Terri Kirby Erickson from “In the Palms of Angels” (Press 53), and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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