A Poem by Victoria Peterson-Hilleque

I want a chance to do it again,
give Dorothy the last sponge bath, be more
careful with her sore shoulder

this time. I would not chatter
on and on about when the nurse washed
my hair after bunion surgery.

I would ask her about living
at the convent; her desire to be a saint.
She would tell me about the farm,

when her mother tied her
to the back of the tractor and plowed the fields.
I would slowly rinse the soap listening,

ask her to tell me about the day
she knew she was on her own. She stood
at the bottom of a steep,

steep hill thick, slick
with ice. She took a few minutes
to acknowledge no one

would rescue her.
I want to ask her how she
made her way up.


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