He changes his clothes before coming in the house—
gym shorts hanging on a peg in the garage.
Each day they are washed, like a sacrament to health,
a prayer that if we follow these motions, she shall
be saved. Then a hot shower, for any piggyback
bacteria clinging from surface to skin. The hands
are particular worries, how much they touch, how much
they carry. We bathe them in solutions, promises to kill
anything short of human. I always think of glitter,
how it seems to spread the more you try to wipe it up.
We know that one day our cradling her head, speaking
her name too close, will bring that one bad tiding
that calls her home. Even then, it was as if she were
untouchable, separate, kept from us by six feet of dirt.