At the age of ninety-five, my father
decides on the need for cologne. The traces
hover long after he has shuffled by.
Fresh. Bracing. Effervescent. Eau de.
A perfect cover, I guess, for the cracked
vellum-skin beneath.

He splashes it on
in the space where parchment and spillage meet
each morning before a mirror image
he can barely see. And he is morphing,
more comfortable of late with face child-like
and gummy then with ill-fitting dentures
inserted. They rattle inside his mouth,
click-clacking in their painful song to entropy.

At the age of ninety-five, my father,
fearful of vanishing, gropes the universe
for something to do. His fingers ripple
against the waves of gravity before him,
less visible yet thicker each passing day.
He probes tax bills and hot pepper jars alike,
pokes at sweet grapes that trail a nasty stain
like ancient bruises. Like the purple marks
left by prison camp guards.

In the sunlight
that streams through the living-room window,
I see the dust that will carry him off
one day. One day. But, in the meantime,
he reaches gingerly for the blue-tinted bottle
and dabs himself (and the world around him)
with more than a hint of scented blessing.

I can but think of singing “the sun in flight”
and imprecations against an easy dark.

~ Michael Mirolla

Michael Mirolla is a Montreal-Toronto corridor novelist, short story writer, poet and playwright. Publications include the recently-released novel Berlin (a finalist for the 2009 Indie Book Award) and two short story collections—The Formal Logic of Emotion and Hothouse Loves & Other Tales. A collection of poetry, Light And Time, was recently published, and an English-Italian bilingual collection of poetry, Interstellar Distances/Distanze Interstellari, is due out later in 2009. “Profumeria” is from a collection in progress called The House on 14th Ave.

One Response to “Profumeria”

  1. Thanks for your poem, Michael

    It’s full of scent words and associations that work.
    Coming from an italo-canadian home it reminded me of my Papa’s wafts of green bottled Pino. To this day a flood of memories return when I smell it.

    Your poem is another insight into how the ‘scent of a person’
    can remain timelessly & bring back their ‘essence’.
    There are too many words in our lives, I think.
    The nose says it so much more subtley.

    Thanks for reminding us.

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