Twenty years later,
each inhaled sweet pea
returns me to that idyllic summer.
Zadie, my story-telling grandfather
who lingered over the simplest meals
relishing each morsel
and called my sister, “Madam sauerkraut”
smoked a pipe.
He died in 1969 but the aroma of burning pipe tobacco
touches a warm inner recollection
of his rough, unshaven cheek as it brushed against my face.
My aged neighbor
kept her doors keyed, bolted and padlocked
windows closed and heat turned on high.
The house was full of 94 years and
on summer evenings we sat on the porch and talked.
An elderly person sat near me
on the morning bus.
That same musty smell tapped my memory
and, turning, I have expected to see her there.
I miss those warm summer nights.
When you are gone,
the remembrance of your fragrant cologne
haunts me –
on my hands, in my bed, on other men.
I drink it in
swallowing the impassioned images in
My memories are fading…
Pass the decongestants.
April 4, 1993