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Harry Byczkowski

Moss has started to grow
around my thin calves,
creeping further
and further up my body,

And the more it grows
the harder it is
to shake off.

I try to move sometimes,
but the weight of the plant
is too much, and so becomes a soft
anchor, fixing me in my bed.

My hands try to reach towards the green,
climbing clumps to wash them off.
But the task is
laborious and
silly and

Father tells me how trees wear the same plant
like a dress, tells me how beautiful it looks.
His eyes betray him, though, when he looks at me
with sympathy, and at my body with disgust.

Sometimes Mother stays
with me all night and
helps to scrub at my legs with a sponge,
her ready hands red-raw, and reeking of soap.

And when she does this,
she recalls how easy I was to clean
as a child
when the undesired could be washed away.