White Basin

by Lindy Barbour

It came to the point that she was weak
past climbing stairs and in the mornings
had to wash using the kitchen sink.

I went down Castle Street to Wallace Hughes,
Electrical and Hardware, to buy a bowl. The dark shop
smelled as always of paraffin and bare boards.

The bowl was cheap; a simple hemisphere
of thin white plastic with a rolled rim,
as white and round as the full moon.

Each morning I held her upright as her white hands
swam like little fishes through the warm water. The garden
was still flowering strongly that November. I watched her
gaze at the roses through two layers of glass.

I kept the bowl and use it now for ordinary things,
handwashing and catching drips. It’s as beautiful
as the moon or as a marble basin of clear water
with fish swimming in moonlight in a dark garden.