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An Olfactory Affair
It’s the smell of wildflowers, of strawberry ice cream
Of cheap perfume, of melted candle-wax.
It’s the smell of sand, of the sea
Of pine trees, of oatmeal with brown sugar.
It’s the smell of my mother’s barszcz, of the fresh-cut grass in my backyard,
Of lavender, of Krispy Kreme donuts and Subway pizza.
It’s the smell of the pages of an old book, of hot tea,
Of my sister’s pomegranate hand cream, of fresh linens.
It’s the smell of new cars, of apple cider,
Of cedar hearts, of the inside of a log cabin.
It’s the smell of burning rubber, of gasoline
Of thick cologne, of the breath of a drunkard.
It’s the smell of sweat, of cigarette smoke
Of blood, of sawdust.
It’s the smell of tar, of rust
Of spilled ink, of gunpowder.
It’s the smell of vomit, of bathroom air freshener
Of hospital gauze, of exhaust.
It’s the smell of rotting garbage, of a sewer
Of mud, of roadkill.
It’s the smell of week-old Chinese food, of pencil shavings
Of dust, of unwashed clothes.
It’s the smell of an old house, of a wet dog,
Of the pond in my neighbor’s yard, of my chlorine-drenched swimsuit.
It’s the smell of porcelain, the smell of an antique store
Of daisies, of what used to be my favorite soap.
It’s the smell of the shed next to my father’s office, of that shirt that I borrowed and never returned.
Of the library near my house, of paper fresh out of the printer.
It’s the smell of the pink bottle of nail polish that I lost, of the dust from a chalkboard eraser
Of dirt, of the predawn mist.
It’s the smell of summer rain, of chocolate-chip cookies baking in lonely cafés.
Of wilted roses, of perfumed letters kissed by a pair of pink lips before being thrown away.
It’s the smell of soda, of run-down fast food joints
Of mint, of hotel-brand shampoo.
It’s the smell of my English classroom, of my favorite lotion
Of tiny stores in big cities, of aloe vera hand sanitizer.
It’s the smell of orange juice, of my bedsheets,
Of the sanctuary of a church, of chocolate.
It’s the smell of ribbon candy, of firewood,
Of jasmine, of freshly baked bread.
It’s the smell of exotic spices, of crowns of clovers
Of morning dew, of Tropicana limeade and Five Guys fries.
It’s the smell of freshly ironed clothes, of a newspaper
Of hashbrowns, of pool water.
It’s the smell of the inside of a mailbox, of a thousand bodies huddled together
Of a river, of gourmet dinners.
It’s the smell of grand cathedrals, of beautiful women’s lipstick
Of new t-shirts, of hotel stationery
It’s the smell of butterscotch, of a deserted trail in the woods
Of maple syrup, of a long-forgotten world map.