My father hands me his teeth to wash.
They clack in my palmswarm water on ice.
At the sink, picking his lunch from between plastic cuspids,
I see his reflection in the medicine cabinet,
his white skin thinner than the sheets he lies upon.
Like artificial bones, the dentures clatter
under the stream of the faucet. I sniff
the hand towel embroidered with flowers.
The fabric hints of sour milk and floral soap.
Father mumbles from the bed, sure of his words,
and I nod and hope he will not notice
I do not understand what he seems to mean.
Handling his teeth like fossils, I place them
as a horrid grin beside my grandfather's clock.
Father lifts his leg from under the covers
displaying a scar the color of rust
running from ankle to crotch.
With the sheet askew I spot a glimpse
of scrotum, like a ripened fig left to rot.
I glance away pretending I have not seen it,
but its smoothness and color are that of a newborn's.
I cannot help noticing:
that is where I began.