When my mother died, my father discovered
he could not fold a fitted sheet. Patiently,
I showed him the appropriate technique,
but in the months, then years, that followed,
I would find the bottom sheets he'd laundered
spread out on the guest room bed,
where they remained until one
of his three daughters came to visit.

He could operate the washing machine, the dryer,
he could roll a pair of socks until one
disappeared inside the other,
but those fitted sheets defeated him—
or else that bedroom was the place
he went to say, I can't do this without you.