I clean its latex length three times a day
With kindliest touch,
Swipe an alcohol swatch
From the tender skin at the tip of him
Down the lumen
To the drainage bag I change
Each day and flush with vinegar.
When I vowed for worse
Unwitting did I wed this
Of exposed plumbing
And euphemism. Fumble
I through my nurse’s functions, upended
From the spare bed
By his every midnight sound.
Unsought inside our grand romantic
Opens—ruthless and indecent, consuming
All our hiddenmosts.
In a body, immodest
Such hunger we sometimes call tumor;
In a marriage
It’s cherish. From the Latin for cost.
Copyright © 2020 by Kimberly Johnson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.