Day Three, 2023 ROAR Showcase: Soap Aisle Woolworths 1960s

Soap Aisle Woolworths 1960s

Soap smell, overpowering, strong
transfixed me
eyes stinging watering
nose and throat burning raw
I could not escape
how the counters towered over me
I was there looking for you
had lost you in all those aisles
had been crying for so long
before the scorching

Then you found me
told me off for straying
roughly wiped my eyes
so that they stung once more
pulled me away
out into bright sun
complained about the interruption to your shopping

A singular event, until, three years ago
in a Lush store, soap smell burned me again
marching out the door
I suddenly recalled
you hadn’t comforted me then
hadn’t hugged me

I cannot remember any hugs from you
mother dear
although you hugged
wept over
my dead baby daughter

Kim Whysall-Hammond grew up in London in a working-class family, but now lives deep in the English countryside. She obtained a degree in Astronomy from UCL and has worked in both Climate Research and Telecommunications. A late comer to publishing poems, her poetry has appeared in American Diversity Report, Alchemy Spoon, Amsterdam Quarterly, London Grip, North of Oxford, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Marble Poetry, Crannóg and others. Her speculative poetry has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways, Eternal Haunted Summer, Frozen Wavelets, Kaleidotrope, On Spec, Silver Blade and Star*line. She also has poems in anthologies from Palewell Press, Wild Pressed Books, Milk and Cake Press, Experiments in Fiction and Brigids Gate Press. Find more of her work at


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