The girl and her mother are talking while the girl is in the shower,
the mother moving in and out of the bathroom,
holding brushes and clips. They are talking about
the girl’s grandmother, the older woman’s
mother-in-law, dead for months now.
The mother believes in divine mercy, and she says so. The girl
is a skeptic; she scrubs the dripping washcloth against
a dry bar of soap. Wonders out loud what her grandma
has to atone for, already gone, not-breathing, not-here.
The hair dryer turns on and the whirring fills the room.
One and a half women in the bathroom. The older one bends
slightly toward the mirror, rifling the jet of warm air
through her curls. The daughter she looks nothing like
is lathering her arms, her navel, her neck. Each of them
are thinking of the oldest woman, whose damages they have
inherited, against their will, and will display throughout their own
tangled lives like rosebushes withering into bundles of dry thorns,
a wound for all those who walk past. For now, however,
they are content in the cool room with its wet tiles,
one of them with a handful of bubbles, the other with
her hands in her hair.