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  • Bathing My Grandfather, and: To a Possible Tenant
  • Ronald Dzerigian (bio)

Bathing My Grandfather

I shave his face, careful to keep his moustachejust right, pencil-thin, the way grandmother likes,undress him, help him into the shower. Onethen two slow steps into the warm water. Ifmy hands are cold, he tells me. I place the whitebar of soap into the washcloth, start with hisfeet, then his legs. My legs are his legs. When Iwash his penis I warn him, prepare him forthe discomfort. His testicles, feared damagedfrom a fragment of factory pine, helped givelife to my father, helped me get to this bathroom,this shower, this age. Every morning Ilook into the mirror, naked. I see him: samegenitals, same thin frame, same misshapen chest.

To a Possible Tenant

for my wife

I have polished the old wood floors for you,    covered the oak with three coats of lacquer

so you can see yourself when you look down.    I’ve replaced the tile using good strong grout

that will not crumble for at least one lifetime.    All of the boxes that sat browning [End Page 77]

in the garage have been thrown out. The walls,    white, wait for your white car to fill the space

with infinite comings and goings. New    sink for the kitchen, plain-weave curtains, new

stove. The ceiling no longer holds on to    the past. The rooms are empty and I stand

in them daily, counting filled cracks, minutes,    the new pictures to be hung on our walls. [End Page 78]

Ronald Dzerigian

Ronald Dzerigian received his mfa from California State University, Fresno. His poems can be found in the Academy of American Poets (, the Australian Book Review, and Rhino . He is a writing consultant for graduate students at his alma mater and resides in a small farming community with his wife and two daughters.



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