Everything was hidden by crisp
cottons & mohair cardigans that I could stretch
over my little-bit-too-big stomach & down
below my kneecaps. One
time I ripped the rear

seam of my madras shorts, my back
side & underwear exposed. I shuffled
from Dairy Queen straight home, five
slow blocks. I crouched down to pull
my sweater past my bottom & as I

waddled I revealed not one
fleshy patch of bottom. My mom
was over 70 the first time
I saw her breasts. I eased her out
of her lacy Maidenform after

the surgeon removed an acorn-sized
tumor. With a yellow
striped dish towel I wiped
her back to the tailbone, sponged
her underarms. They brought

to mind the tenderness of a sliced
peach. “I hate for you to see this,”
she confessed. But I was secretly
overjoyed. She was finally human
to me & I was taking care of her.