After you’re washed, your mother dabs lavendar oil on her hands;
She combs your hair, still glossy from the bath, with nimble hands.
She pulls the boar’s hair brush through your hair, smoothing as she goes.
Your unruly curls lay down in submission beneath her steady hands.
She spreads your sheets so smooth, like fondant on a wedding cake.
Bending to kiss you, she dimples your pillow beneath the heel of her hand.
(Once, when you were sick, you fell asleep tracing lines on her palms;
You know no maps so well as you know your mother’s hands.)
One day you’ll be too old for this, she says. One day you’ll say, no more.
She smiles, balls fists in the fabric of your quilt to hide her trembling hands.
One night, your hair a mess, you close my door with her on the other side of it.
She waits until she thinks you are asleep before sobbing into her hands.