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Promise by Christine Jones


Soap and shampoo lined up exactly
as I left them, matching towels folded.

She’s not changed her underwear and won’t
let me help her, though she made me promise.

Though she made me promise, doesn’t know
she hasn’t bathed or changed in days.

Believes she does so nightly, and oh how neatly
she washes them in Woolite, hangs them to dry.

Empty hamper, barren grab bars,
soap and shampoo lined up exactly.

Her too-tight string of pearls
can’t hide (Oh how we carry)

her white t-shirt’s neck stains. Stains
she’d never let me carry.

by Christine Jones

Editor’s Note: The fractured repetition featured in this poem carries the speaker’s painful grief for a loved one who is gone yet still living.


4 responses to “Promise by Christine Jones”

  1. Helen Avatar

    Wow. You’ve captured her where she is right now, and we are with all of it. ❤️

  2. Irene Apostoleris Avatar
    Irene Apostoleris

    Beautiful poem. Captured it perfectly. Thanks!

  3. Lucie Winborne Avatar
    Lucie Winborne

    This reminded me of the frustrations I endured with my own mother about personal hygiene, when she was still living in our house with me and my brother. Very poignant while understated.

  4. richardsund Avatar

    A Heartbreaking poem. Sadly so very accurate. And also beautifully written. I see the middle-aged and even older loved ones who are struggling in the foodstores, the restaurants, and more and more everywhere, with frail and/ or demented parents.

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