Love is Shit
The attendant came in to change Barbara’s colostomy bag. “You’ll probably want to leave” Barbara said. “It’s going to stink.”
“Life stinks” I tell her. “I’ll leave if you want me to.”
“I want you to stay.”
She over estimates. It’s no worse than using the bathroom after someone else has been there.
“Love is shit.” I tell her. “If you love someone long enough, eventually you’ll have to clean up after them.” I explain.
It’s the mess of life that really demands of us, that calls us to the work of love, the bearing of witness. It’s not the easy stuff: fun, new love, possibilities.
It’s the cries in the night, our brokenness. It’s the fears we have to reveal in our most intimate moments, our wounds both hidden and gaping.
What messes we are; we ooze out of every orifice.
It all breaks down if we stay together long enough to really know:
Sex, childbirth, death.
Blood, shit, piss.
Her cracking lips I coat with balm. Her dry heals I rub with lavender oil.
“That feels good.” She says through layers of pain and morphine; her final days gasping for breath.
“I’m sorry” She utters, the last time I sit with her before she dies; too tired to talk, in and out of delirium.
“You’re perfect.” I whisper.
Two days later, she’s gone.
I get to the house after they have taken her away; what bones were left. Her rebel cells; the cancer devoured her until there was nothing left.