Essence – Poem


When she brought home little samples
of cologne, wisps of scent
in slender tubes, he tested them
brutally, slapping the wet notes
against his neck like any novice
applies perfume, without respect
for the delicate molecules,
rubbing his wrists together
as if trying to start a fire
with his skin, or worse,
spraying the air
in front of him before walking through
it like a curtain, as if stage-
frightened by that most sensual
of senses, that reminder
of his mother’s lipstick
or an earthy garden
moistened by rain. Once
they were all drained,
he resurrected an old vial
from a cabinet beneath
the bathroom sink, the bottle-dust
thick as velvet against his fingers,
its fragrance potent
with time, its smell
in the soft slope of his neck
like a hallway in a high school
building long condemned, or sex
in a car.

I was too literal with the We Write Poems prompt for today, but it is what it is.

18 thoughts on “Essence – Poem

  1. Cyn, I found pleasure in your poem. I particularly enjoyed the last few lines: “like a hallway in a high school building long condemned, or sex in a car”. The experiences of life are best expressed with the animate objects that connect them to our senses. The reader can then identify and remember and fulfill the poems intended affect. I am remembering now. Thank you, enjoyed your poem.

  2. Wow! But that is often my reaction to your poetry. I tried finding a favourite part, favourite lines, but the integrity of the poem lies in its wholeness. I love the whole. And, read aloud…beautiful, although I like reading this poem on the page.


    PS Wow!

  3. Yes, smell or other senses bring back memories of experiences connected with it. Reading this poem revived lots of old memories!
    I like this place. Will sure visit often.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. Ok, as the author of this prompt, I say, “AWESOME!” Really, I love it. There is an appeal to testing scents, and at the same time there is an aversion to a noxious cloud of scent. Yet don’t we cling to certain smells, like the talc my mother used or my magnetic attraction to Polo (I almost stalk guys wearing that. Ask my husband.) Thanks so much for what you wrote and for participating in this prompt.

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