Perfume Challenge for Thursday (I’m late) at Real Toads. Here goes:

It’s been a long time since I have taken in

the essential scent and essence of a man;

but I know

that I am short

and I would walk past him on tiptoes

at his back when I enter the room he’s in

for my first impression.


I’ve dropped my notebook while reapplying lipstick I never wear

and as he bends down to get it for me (this man I’m thinking of,

I think he would do that) I lean too, towards him, and bend

perpendicular to my legs and I rotate my extending body

over his, a sort of horny swivel lamp,

just in time to catch the wind of him.

There would have to be oiled mahogany, a sort of

clean but painful polish smell,

that, as he stands back up again and I swivel away

just late enough to make him wonder; I also

catch lye. Or Lava.

he works with his hands, my eyes like violets as I see ink stains

on toughened skin, a few scars, dirt that wouldn’t come off

but clean nails.

you have a sliver I see

and I feel all yellow and then like bourbon

splashed and soaking into some kind of workbench

lemme see

tucking my notebook in my arm I take his hand,

turning him a bit into me as I bring it close

and inspect with my nails a defined splinter

I could care less about

I am touching him.

His pointer and middle finger are stained black, and an

acrid paper steamed with punched ink from the press,

inky and I hear angry typewriter keys from Hemingway’s

handsome days in Cuba;

he looks closer at our hands.

Sweat. His sweat.

let’s see, turn it here,

this might hurt a little, there we go oh it’s in there

Reality has its own scent capped in a bottle:

it smells like the cheap musk perfume I bought

at Family Dollar, mixed with the stream of the towing trucks’ exhaust and

stale cigarettes in the parking lots of my youth:

“Can you please…not do that?”

9 thoughts on “Flirt

  1. Flirting … now that’s a scent I’d forgotten. It all comes back here, eyes half closed, inviting and fleeing that essence which unfolds the entire tale. Hesitant, urging, revealed, darkly pealing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The length of this really helps to build the mood, nuanced, immediate, and oh so dangerous around the edges. I can pick up a lot of scents on your breeze, of symbol and stereotype, attraction and self-doubt, and over-all the thin steam of desire. Your ending is the kind I love, subtly dramatic, and slightly ambiguous. Really well done–love the swivel-lamp.

    Liked by 1 person


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s