Posts Tagged ‘scent’

What No One Knew Tonight

for Shushana Castle

Anyone with a link
could watch the pixels of her
as they streamed through the ether,
but no one in the world knew she wore oud,
a musky, pungent, smoky scent
that comes from the agar tree.
A scent said to carry prayers.
A scent said to bring serenity.
A scent derived from resin
that appears only when the heartwood of agar
has been infected by fungus, attacked.
It is not lost on her she wears
the perfume of a wounded heart—
rich and heavy, warm and animalistic.
It fills her nose with an olfactory story
that says, I have survived, and damned
if I won’t make of the wound something sweet.
She dons the gift like a secret worn on her sleeve—
something anyone could perceive
if only they come close enough—
there’s so much more than what one can see.

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for Kyra


February ends with the fragrance of change—

not quite the fresh earthy scent of rain,

but no longer the white sterility of winter.

It’s the damp aroma of long dead grass

and the must of soil as it starts to unfreeze,

the bright tang of Gemini distilled from the sky

and the hint that someday there will be green.


This is the perfume I imagine you wearing today

as you move from the darkest hours of fear

into the chapter of healing. Yes, I smell it

as I hug you, the scent of making room for the world,

the scent of resilience, of beauty yet to come.

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Allspice. Basil. Bay. Caraway. There were mornings

my boy and I spent on the floor pulling herbs and spices

from the drawer. We’d open the jars and close our eyes

and gently sniff. Cardamom. Cilantro. Cinnamon. Dill.

I took out the cayenne and red pepper flakes

and put them up high on an uppermost shelf.

Some agonies are easy to prevent.

We focused on Fennel. Fenugreek. Mint.


Today, he comes home having breathed in deeply

the scent of heartbreak, a jar I would have hidden if I could,

but all of us know it eventually, feel the burn, the inner sear.

Beyond safety, thyme, turmeric, there is fire, and once inhaled,

it hurts everywhere. Eventually we respect the heat as a gift.

Eventually the heart learns to walk through it.

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old lilac bush

beside the highway

scent of one hundred springs

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