Poem for a Man with No Sense of Smell by Kate Clanchy

And it isn’t easy, you know, to not think. To not think of you. And of course, the proverbial what-might-have-been. This is the year we were supposed to get married, or have you forgotten. But of course you did. Of course you did.

Poem for a Man with No Sense of Smell
Kate Clanchy

This is simply to inform you:

that the thickest line in the kink of my hand
smells like the feel of an old school desk,
the deep carved names worn sleek with sweat;

that beneath the spray of my expensive scent
my armpits sound a bass note strong
as the boom of a palm on a kettle drum;

that the wet flush of my fear is sharp
as the taste of an iron pipe, midwinter,
on a child’s hot tongue; and that sometimes,

in a breeze, the delicate hairs on the nape
of my neck, just where you might bend
your head, might hesitate and brush your lips,

hold a scent frail and precise as a fleet
of tiny origami ships, just setting out to sea.

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