Patricia Wellingham-Jones


We amble down the hall to the shower
Me in the lead
you with your walker
Smudge in the middle
tail high     purr rumbling

I soap and scrub and rinse you
dodge flying water-drops
Trip over the cat
her nose poked in watching the show

A quick rub-down with towel and lotion
undies and shirt pulled on shivering frame
then the procession walks in reverse
back down the hall

Side by side we sit on your bed
Smudge in the middle
tummy exposed     paws in the air
purr rumbling

Trousers tugged up     shoes crammed on
we rest before tackling breakfast
Smudge plops on my lap
then fancies yours
Basks in the glow of all that assistance.

* * *


She squints at the clock
beside the king-sized bed
Notes the pale flush
of pink in the sky
Gives herself a mental pinch
to see if it's real

In the hush of dawn
the red light
on the baby monitor lies still
No bounce
No rapid runs and noise
up and down its scale
at the end of the hall
the hacking coughs
choking phlegm
clank of walker
against bedside commode

She subsides into pillows
relishes these moments
of a strangely silken repose
Stirs a body torpid with sleep
into the demanding day
the question of his silence

Patricia Wellingham-Jones, a former psychology researcher and writer/editor, is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Chapbooks include Don't Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer (PWJ Publishing) and Hormone Stew (Snark Publishing). She won the Palabra Productions Chapbook Contest 2006 with End-Cycle, Poems About Caregiving. Her website is