A Scented Contrapuntal


In 1555, an antique alchemist distilled

A young raven in a pulp

Of myrtle leaves, talc, and almond oil

To render a perfume

Meant to plant a memory

A stark and violet scent


In the exhibit

“Abstract and Unexplainable Smells”

Find a distillation of surrender

A mélange—a frisson of ions

The discharge herbal and sweet

The first waft of decay


Plants have an olfactory after-life

A lily, long extinct

A mist of cloud and dust, but

Finally, the smell of gray

Smoke and stale air

A bruised and tangled binding

 

A leathered scent

Of sleeping sweat

Old Spice

Embedded in his cardigan

I carried home

The musk of my father


My mother’s breath blankets

            Tatted pillow cases

Parsed into tight squares

I hoard—store away

For quiet unfoldings

Of buried moments


Azalea and gardenia

Will release and penetrate

Then become

A vine of honeysuckle

That once choked the spring lilac

That cannot be slipped

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked