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cover art Poems from the Other Land
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A   M i x e d   B a g   o f   S m e l l s

Lily of the valley, Yardley’s
lavender talc, Palmolive green
soap (that always took an age
before it shrunk to a dry-cracked
earth sliver), boiling bones –
for soup you understand,
cats, mothballs among the
suits in a regimented row, were
all the same shape – jacket, skirt,
buttons up the front, worn
with a high-necked white
blouse, rattle of cheap
trinkets masquerading
as exotic gems. Sometimes
I imagined the smell of
champagne, sun-tan oil,
sand, surf from some far-away
place when she puckered
her tinder-dry lips for
a goodbye kiss from her
granddaughters – us,
and I’d smell a scent
long past it’s sell-by-date
knew it was only a matter of time
before the dust would win.


First appeared in Wicked Alice, October 2003

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