Home About Us Features Write Now! Submit Resources

The Promise

by Shirley Dunn Perry

the daughter lifts her mother's head and slips a plastic hair-wash
tray in place
padding towels around the unconscious woman's neck and shoulders
she chats about the weather and the muffins she made that morning
teasing her mother, she muses: you always wanted me to be a hairstylist
as she pours warm water over the white curls
she massages her mother's scalp and the scent of lavender 
fills the air 
the daughter watches her mother's face 
but the face is a field of quiet, dormant with no hope of spring
remember, mum, she asks, when you made me promise
to make sure your hair looked great, no matter what 
she hums "You Are My Sunshine" 
as the sudsy water flows into a basin on the floor

Shirley Dunn Perry is a registered nurse, workshop leader, writer, poet, author, and publisher of Ten Five-Minute Miracles: How to Relax. She teaches poetry and writing as a way of healing in the community. Her work has appeared in, among others, ByLine Magazine, The Write Word, Erete's Bloom, Mutant Mule Review, The Laughing Dog, A Gathering of Grandmothers, and Brush the Mind Gently. Biscuit making, hiking, world travel, and watercolors add zest to her writing adventures.