Smelling Cursive This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 17, 2009
She couldn't read the words,
so she smelled them instead
Breathing in each printed word
And then pausing, as if to savor the scent.

I can smell cursive, she told me
And I asked her what it smelled like

Did it smell like toothpaste
Freshly squeezed from the tube
Was there a trace of the sea
Like crabmeat at the wharf
Or did it smell like mint leaves
Crushed between the fingers

Did words have a scent

Like the tang of an orange just peeled
Or the sweetness after the rain has fallen

What about the sunlight filtering through
a bedsheet dangling from the clothesline
Or a child's wonder upon discovering another
Top-secret clubhouse
What about the change in the leaves
and the first wisps of autumn
Or the memory of a conversation overheard

Did each have a scent?
Did each have its own, unmistakable

Perhaps everything has a smell
A shape, a color
What would a summer afternoon taste like?
Lemony and honey-coated? Syrupy, dusted with sugar?
Or perhaps it wouldn't be sweet at all
But bitter and sharp
Like a wedge of bitter melon
Placed against the tongue

What would it be like to breathe in
The aroma of polka dots or
To taste the tinge of melancholy

what would it be like
To sniff the scent of cursive, strewn across the page?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Huda M. said...
Jan. 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm
I love the unimaginable beauty and eloquence of this poem; the words are carefully, painstakingly chosen, leaving the reader to feel, taste, and SMELL the words. Good job, I loved it!
hollyllama This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 1, 2012 at 4:53 am
This is truly wonderful. A beautiful idea for a beautiful poem. It struck me as quite perfect.   Great work. You are one talented bean. :) Keep writing!
sparkofheart said...
May 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm
wow that was so amazing! good job :)
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