Saturday, April 27, 2002

A Sense of Scent
This afternoon, I walked over to check on my grave-sized garden. The parsley patch I planted last year was already up and dancing in the wind. In the corner, small green sprouts of new lavender peered through layers of winter-grayed spikes. I held one of the new lavender leaves up to my nose. I love the smell of lavender, only in part because one of the great romantic adventurers of my life loved it too. The scent lingering in my memory prompted me to unearth this poem I wrote in the early 90s.

The Sense of Scent

She thought she was done with him,
but one night the moon rose
clear and full-faced,
and an early autumn wind
swept the scent of lavender
through her open window.

Some times are harder than others
to sit silent,
hands clenched against
the lure of the pen,
mouth set against
the call of the phone,
thinking to oneself
that some things are better
left to silence,
to the slow decay of time,
the turning of moons
and lavender seasons.

But even in the darkest of corners
some things refuse to die –
some small husk still
riddled with seeds,
some insistent root
defying the dust,
some dormant dream
of a riotous clash of hearts,
curious clutch of minds,
a dance of hands that
hope and hold and, too soon,
let go.

She thought she was done with him,
except his voice
still pulls at her belly
like the insistent tides of the moon.
So when he calls
from places lush
with a thousand thriving things,
she sends him dewy lavender
wrapped in familiar black lace,
because, they say,
the sense of smell
is the most visceral,
holding even the darkening
memory of the dying.

Sigh. Spring.
What is happening to our children?
We give them birth, and most of us look forward to all that comes after. We do our best to teach their minds, touch their hearts, heal their bodies, guide their souls, keep their eyes clear and their butts clean. We frustrate them, we limit them, sometimes we embarrass them, but we always love them. Most of all, we love them. At least most of us most of all love them.

And yet we might never really know them -- especially the ones who one day walk out of a rest room dressed in black and coldly eliminate themselves as well as those who are not their enemies; the ones who one day walk into a crowded market and boldly explode themselves and those who are not their enemies; the ones who eliminate their bothersome sibling and bury him along with their dreams.

What happens to them between us and the rest of the world? What happens to how much we love them? What happens to how much they love? What is happening to our children? What is happening to us?