Mom’s Itchy Skin

Mom’s Itchy Skin

Dear Itchy Skin,

You have made my mother itch all night and she thinks she has scabies and asks me 10 times in 12 hours if she has scabies, and every time I say no, I have had scabies, that is not scabies. Your dermatologist is right, it is eczema, dry skin…you are drying out like late fall grapes forgotten on the vine, mom. I put on a blue latex glove from the box the home health nurse has brought her and she guides me to the right prescription tube, the blue and white one…..among the many on her dresser and lined up in her top drawer. We begin the application on her back. She accepts my touch in a way she never would have when younger, when she hated excessive hugs or warm pressed kisses on her lips from her daughters. Now she accepts it all and directs me to her itchiest spots and I pretend to treat her medicinally through my touch when really I am massaging her old skin and bones to give her pleasure. We go on like this for minutes and minutes, as I watch the cream sink and disappear into her skin.   I add more and more cream and see the dry skin starting to curl under my latex gloved fingers. She is peeling away from your itchy incessant meddling, and I go gently to keep her in the moment, rubbing each part of her back as she tells me what feels good, careful not to go too deep, now hoping I am peeling away some of her old age frustration for the day. Thank you for giving me a chance to touch my mother, you thankless annoying itch.

-by Ava Hypatia


Note: Inspired by Ablution by Amy Fleury; written and recorded for d’Verse Poets.

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15 Responses to Mom’s Itchy Skin

  1. Poor mother. She is lucky to have an understanding daughter like you.


  2. Sabio Lantz says:

    I really love Amy Fleury’s poem:

    And yours is superb — very touching. Karma Yoga: devotion and learning to commitment to our duties.


  3. Abhra says:

    A very heard warming piece – and very sweet of you to express such an intricate moment of your relationship with your mother – the poetic journey has contrast of reality and affection so nicely.


  4. Wow, this is truly amazing. This part really touched me, “She accepts my touch in a way she never would have when younger, when she hated excessive hugs or warm pressed kisses on her lips from her daughters.” and in the end, having something to be thankful for, bcus of that itch. Bravo.


  5. C.C. says:

    While her skin is peeling from the dryness, you are hoping that you are “peeling away some of her old age frustration for the day”–love this parallel you’ve made and the sharing of something so intimate….plus the ability to find gratitude in such a task/moment.


  6. Love spells
    at its
    as just
    4 letter
    tales a Truth..:)


  7. I really like this, how an intimacy grows out of need.. Indeed many of us can feel a certain discomfort from touch, but pain and itch will change it all, love to hear you reading.


  8. sarala D says:

    Warmth in daughters’ treatment mother is a boon.Your mother is lucky.


  9. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    Heart-warming write 🙂


  10. Reminds me of my mother. I also found it gratifying to have been able to help her when she had her stroke.


  11. jillys2016 says:

    The thirsting and quenching, both literal and figurative, are blended wonderfully!


  12. Bodhirose says:

    I love this. Your letter to the “itch” can be taken in a couple of different ways…and I like the play on words and meaning as you explain mother’s torment and how you at last are able to touch her when you couldn’t as a child. This is humorous but then not so much too. Thanks for adding your wonderful poem to our OLN.
    Gayle ~


  13. Waltermarks says:

    I like that you thanked the itch. This wisdom takes careful reflection. Many people would just dab on the cream and let her cry. The depth of the emotion is really great!


  14. Mish says:

    It is great that the itch had a positive side for you and your mother. My grandmother was not one for big hugs…she thought she would break, complained it hurt. In her last years, she welcomed touch and I treasure holding her hand in some of herr final days.


  15. Mish says:

    oops…somehow doubled up the “r” in her 🙂


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