The Last Skin Related Poem Content Details
BY BARBARA RAS
Has anyone desribed the smell of wishbones drying
on the kitchen sill or the smell of glass, or the bucket of water
lifted from the well we go to when death takes the last thirst
from someone we love?
After my mother died, sometimes
I'd take the one piece of her clothing I'd kept
to bed and bury my face
in her flowered blouse to smell her last skin,
but even from the first it was futile.
What I got was the smell of goneness, the smell of screen
doors where moths have spent their wing powder
beating failingly to reach the light.
My massage therapist said she felt grief
in my body like hard empty boxes.
I felt like I was always handling dough,
never wanting the kneading to be done, never wanting
to bake the bread that meant the end of something having to do
with a mother and daughter in a kitchen.
My mother has been gone for years, and I begin to see,
in the spots on the backs of my hands, in the shelf
my cheekbones make for my cheeks, in the way I hold
my mouth against gravity's pull, that I carry her
wiht me, my skin, her skin,
her last skin.