The smell of roast coffee haunts the street.
I wait to reach it, breath deep
as we pass, my mothers high heels clatter
briskly across the cellar grating as she drags me
by that alluring café where people are talking.
I imagine them all as artists, writers,
just as I want to be. Is coffee the key?
In summer, roses and sun cream,
the smell of a warm tennis ball,
at the pool, fluoride burns in my throat,
hot tarmac, big roller pressing it flat.
The heat of a greenhouse full of tomatoes,
geranium leaves crushed between fingers,
new mown lawns and sprinklers.
Wet dogs, the strong deep smell of horse,
bran mash and hay, wintergreen, autumn, leather,
new baked bread and a simmering curry.
More pungent the scent of a dark, damp wood,
seaweed on the wind by the ocean
that catches my heart and opens my lungs.
No hurry then as the world stands still.
My father smelled of sawdust, tweed,
tobacco, fresh paint and engine oil,
of his indefinable tribal self,
nothing like anyone else.
As a child that smell meant safe,
warm as the smell of a fir tree
bedecked in Christmas lights,
firelight shadows on walls.
I can recall the perfume,
the scent, the pure animal smell,
of everyone I ever loved.
Now give me oranges, rosemary,
bergamot bottled, uncorked,
for comfort alone.