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.
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.