Valentine’s Day isn’t complete for long-married couples like me and my wife without the significant other in our lives. My wife in Calcutta (Kolkata) loved this poem when I read it out to her over the phone from Singapore. Both of us were thinking of our son, now in college in America. This poem took us back in time when he was a baby and loved being bathed by his mum.
By Debra Spencer
Last night I walked back and forth,
his small head heavy against my chest,
round eyes watching me in the dark
his body a sandbag in my arms
I longed for sleep but couldn’t bear his crying
so bore him back and forth until the sun rose
and he slept. Now the doors are open,
noon sunlight coming in,
and I can see fuchsias opening.
Now we bathe. I hold him, the soap
makes our skins glide past each other.
I lay him wet on my thighs, his head on my knees,
his feet dancing against my chest,
and I rinse him, pouring water
from my cupped hand.
No matter how I feel, he’s the same,
eyes expectant, mouth ready,
with his fat legs and arms,
his belly, his small solid back.
Last night I wanted nothing more
than to get him out of my arms.
Today he fits neatly
along the hollow my thighs make,
and with his fragrant skin against mine
I feel brash, like a sunflower.