This Caring Life

Sticky soft thud.

I didn’t get him there in time.

The first turd has hit the bathroom floor end on,

compacting its ripe stench on impact.

His juddering weight tumbles onto the pedestal

barely in time for all else his body needs to eliminate.

I hold his twitching feet against their descent

onto that yielding brown cylinder on the floor.

I wad the faecal chunk and clean all smears

whilst this man gazes in wonder at what is going on.

I tear my eyes from the shrivelled redundancy of his penis: 

once upon a time he urinated with this;

gave himself pleasure with this flesh;

made love to a fiancée with this forsaken thing.

Now gravity leeches the piss from his bladder

through plastic tube to transparent pouch.

His dignity is seen-through, emptied, disinfected

day by day, night by night.

He is still young, but time is without pity –

each merciless day two questions toll:

“if he knew, would this drained, defecated life

weigh more than others sluicing beneath his foreskin,

hosing and swabbing his shit?”


“into just how many shapes does love shift?”