Mornings Like This

/ /

It was one of the tricks my mother learned.
She hired a contractor to expand the bathroom
with a shower big enough for her and my father

because he needed her there, to clean him,
her voice, the only one he recognized,
repeating, “It’s okay,” when he grabbed her wrist.

What does she think on mornings like this,
showering inside that big space, responsible
only to herself? “It’s okay,” she said,

sometimes a question, sometimes a plea,
like the prayers I was taught as a boy,
not knowing what they meant.