On Losing the Sense of Smell

In my arms, lilacs like a former lover—
no heartbeat, no elevator.
The garden pantomimes its tactics. Now

the ocean arrives too soon: flora
the only clue before the roar of blue.
I forget what it is to be far away

and still know I am near. The wind is
an empty boat. Overboard, bouquets
of memory. Nostalgia cannot translate

mnemonics. Summer goes black and white.


These strawberries announce desire like roosters,
Their reveille lasting till well past noon.
No mouth domesticates their primal sirens,
No apron can carry enough sweet souvenirs.

Our mouths are primed for kisses like these each morning,
Your beard soft as the straw between these rows
Of berries. My hands search the shadows.
Everywhere buds are turning to tongues.


HOME PAGE IMAGE: Albino Peacock (Rose Red) (detail) (2012) by Ryan McGinley, FROM ISSUE NO. 201, SUMMER 2012.