Walking the Dogs After Rain
Everything smells sharper and sweeter to me,
so what must it be for them, keen-nosed hunters,
each blade of grass, each quarter inch of soil
soaked with yet one more aphrodisiac
to plant their feet like stones, necks hardened
into steel columns no leash can persuade until
every atom’s bouquet has been inhaled and weighed:
the scat of the bigger dog three houses down;
a rabbit racing through wild daisies; a cat;
an insect oozing its green insides; a flat, wet scuff of some
other human’s shoe. A smorgasbord intensified,
drenched with the nourishing, negative ions of rain.
When I lean into my mother’s soft wool coat,
its closeted shape a new loneliness—she, no longer
seeking shelter from any cool draft—I breathe in
the lingering sense of time, of her hair, of Chanel No. 5.
I strain to inhale every fragrant trace that hangs
among her orphaned clothes in that dry and empty space.
If my father could still climb stairs, he would find me
in the closet at the end of the hall, nose buried in the fabric
of her essence, my sensory self pressed hard to the olfactory
evidence that will exist only a short time more.
It is raining in the closet of her life,
everywhere the sweet, strong allure of my mother.
The dogs are on their last stretch home;
the world will dry and fade to aromas
trapped within the walls, shrunk to closet size.
They will soon be loose of what compelled them so.
How long can I hold inside the scent
of hair, perfume, her brief time in this ionized air?