Soap Aisle Woolworths 1960s

Kim Whysall-Hammond, Poem

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