Listening In

In the locker room a mother
and small-voiced daughter enter
adjoining showers.  I hear
their voices rise above their
twin cascades.  Hear the ping

on the metal divide between
their matching work to remove
this morning's ocean salt and all
of the beach that clings. The daughter
calls out to let her mother know

she was able to reach the soap. 
To let her know how the water
helps her rinse off all the soap.
All by herself. 
She inquires if her mother likes

her shower too and her mother
laughs an answer which flows
above, below the divider to reach
the child's upturned face. 
Her soapy feet. 

I have had only sons and never
minded until this steamy room.
Not a longing, really, but a blossoming
a mother and daughter happened
to include me in.

Patricia O’Brien


  1. OH, this is marvelous. I will read it again and again. I have a son and a daughter and grandchildren, boys and girls. How you have highlighted intimacy taken for granted. Thank you.


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