Sunday, September 07, 2014


When I was five and went to see my grandparents, the
elevator to their apartment traversed layers of odor:
the smell of cable grease and dust at the ground floor,
then the faint tang of mothballs as we rose, pot roast
then something like brass polish; at the last floor, wax
overlaid with rose petals as the door grumbled open.
Now, any one of those smells will send me back in time
to when I had to reach up to push an elevator button.

This morning’s walk: the wet air held scent, amped it up
so even our poor primate noses could tell what was what:
the acrid floral piercing made by bat guano, a sudden flash
of resinous green as I brush a tangle of rosemary, mossy rot
and humus from the soaked piles of brush along the creek.

Lightning in sheets half-hidden by virga: petrichor
chromed with ozone carried on the western wind.

Scents fade, sinking into the skin and pores of memory.

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