Maria Writes

Marisol cortez
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Maria writes,

What is it you use 

for diaper rash?

Her husband of 45 years, at 88 

ten years older than she—

she thinks he’s getting

a bedsore, the beginning of one,

there on his familiar shoulder blade, 

on the side he sleeps on

facing her. For awhile 

they slept separate,

for awhile she had help

at night, someone who 

stayed with him so 

she could finally relax her watch

and sleep. Then someone to sit with him

just a few hours 

during the day

so she could get out

for this or that, sometimes

make a meeting, pick up bread,

paletas for him. But then one night

he fell, even as the sitter guarded, 

so she moved back into 

their bed, sleeping beneath

the sitter’s eye. And then  

the virus came

and she had to let all caregivers go.

So now it’s just her

and him

in the house

and at night she even 

ties herself 

to him

so that if he wakes and walks 

she is sure to wake too,

to help him to the bathroom

and back 

without falling.



But oh, she writes,

in a postscript to

her electronic missive

to me, oh—


Today I bathed him sitting down

and it was crazy again. 

Water all over the place!

And he keeps saying,

Where is my bathing lady?

Joking, you know—says

I will never compare

to the bathing lady he loved,

the one who called him

Sweetheart. But

we are getting used to it. 

And by the time he was done

with his bath, the bedsheets

changed, him dressed 

and looking so cool and

starting a nap, I was all wet

and perspiring like 

there is no tomorrow. So 

I took my own shower

and it was great. I like collecting

all the small and large wet towels

and all the wet clothing and

throwing it into the washer!!!!!!

And then I was cool too,


Rooted in San Antonio, Marisol Cortez writes across genre about place, power, and the possibilities proliferating at the margins for all the other borderwalking weirdos out there. She is the author of the novel Luz at Midnight (FlowerSong Press, 2020) and of I Call on the Earth (DoubleDrop Press, 2019), a chapbook of documentary poetry. Other poems and prose have appeared in Mutha Magazine, About Place Journal, Orion, Vice Canada, Caigibi, Metafore Magazine, Outsider Poetry, Voices de la Luna, and La Voz de Esperanza, among other anthologies and journals. For more information on projects and publications, visit


Discover more of Marisol’s work on Facebook, Twitter, and her website

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