The Day Nurse

She is so young, 23 or 24, her cheeks
ruddy with the pink only high mountain air
can provide. She has a toddler, left behind
in another highland town, in the care of others. 
Her name is a variation of gazelle, though in those 
parts there have only been sambar and spotted 
brown deer. She is one of three caregivers 
who feed and change my mother, who turn 
her in the hospital bed to slide clean sheets 
or adult diapers under her. They are more
patient than daylight, more hopeful than warm
washcloths, the thick puree of blended food, neon
signs blinking in the street below. They sing and coo, 
console. Now she is their child, though never chided. 

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