Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Antibacterial Soap

19 October 2005

For my son

It was antibacterial soap
That led me back to those days
When you first graced my world
With your presence

My job is anything but sentimental

Stocking cold steel
Abrasives and harsh
Tools men use to cut things off
Weld this to that
Make broken things work again

I wash my hands of course
Before I leave that wretched place

And as I drive toward home again
My face often rests upon hand
Or fingers trace lips
As I drift in thought
Wherever she takes me

Today the scent of soap on my hands
found its way to my senses

And I found myself
Quite suddenly five years back
In the hospital
Washing my hands vigorously
Under scalding hot water before entering
The sterile room which housed
Your incubator

Watching your tiny chest rise and
Fall with your labored breaths

Pumping and freezing food
For my sweet baby boy

Born three months early
Before the baby shower that never happened
Before the stretchmarks that never formed

Before your lungs were ready

I had prayed
Dear God let him stay inside
Just one more day

Just one more day

By His providence
And your stubborn insistence
My request did not find fulfillment

I remember visiting
Watching and waiting
Hoping for a week's stability

Such was required
If you were to go
Home before Christmas


You are now
Nearly five years old


And I am driving home with you
Lodged firmly in my heart
Trickling down my face as I remember


The simplest things are sacred
Even the scent of soap on my hands

1 comment:

Ruth said...

I love it. Smells are so evocative.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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