An ad exec in L.A. dabs
Chanel No. 5 on her left wrist.
A dozen sixth graders in Detroit
splash on their dads’ aftershave.
A thousand housemaids in Miami
toss fabric softener sheets into dryers.
Wafting through open windows
and laundry vents, perfumed wisps
rise to The Cloud, repository of all scents,
fragrances and aromas concocted
in laboratories and factories
then bottled and tubed as lotion,
shampoo, toothpaste, and floor polish.
This invisible roiling mass
holding mankind’s versions of
lavender, musk, mint,
jasmine, and mayrose,
looms high over Atlanta
when one massage therapist
lights a patchouli candle.
The Cloud can take no more.
Counterfeit vanilla, lemon,
lilac, and cedar rain down
on earth and sea.
Nature, finally outdone,
surrenders. Pines and balsam firs
drop their needles. Cherries and apples
shrivel. Freesias and geraniums close.
Honeybees fly in circles,
Maureen Ann Connolly’s poetry has appeared in MARGIE, Off the Coast, Words and Images, Spillway, at workliterarymagazine.com and poeticamagazine.com, as well as in the anthology Lavanderia: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash, and Word. She has won a Maine Literary Award for Individual Poem and was a Judson Scholar at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Three of her poems were among the 100 selected by readers for the Poetry Ark Anthology (2011). She is also a playwright. She lives in Maine.