The ole’ factory is humming, right up above - in my brain,
Reviving lilac-scented memories of childhood and of rain.
Slick synaptic pathways, much more expedient than others,
Conjure warm apricot cookies in Oma’s kitchen with my brothers.
Cherry Chapstick was a favourite, buttered popcorn, cheese on toast,
Dusty chalkboards, my dad’s whiskers, mother’s scrumptious Sunday roast.
The smell of earth, encrusted on my Osh Kosh knees, blossoms sweetly there,
While the machine thumbs through my past: evening bath time, honeyed hair.
Like a whirling dervish time machine, it whips me through the years,
And dumps me in the locker room, full of swears and fitful tears.
Those damp and inexplicable odors of new bodies budding ripe,
My first sip of Southern Comfort, the dregs of something acrid in a pipe.
The vanilla fragrance of my first car (a ’77 Carolla knick-named Zad),
Mingles agelessly and sagelessly with the scent of Chris, who was a cad.
The ole’ factory keeps on humming, leading me on my whistle stop tour,
Through those first heady days when we were insatiable and sore.
His cologne and the beaded top lip sweat that always made me want some more -
I can only count my blessings that these memories lie stacked so neatly in the store.
Bergamot oil, the doggy scent of dew, sweet pears from our garden tree,
Weave comfortably with plastered walls and a weekend painting spree.
The days make way for years and the iodine is strong,
But not nearly as intoxicating as my baby’s brand new essence - like a heartbeat, like a song.
The proud bouquet of milk unfurls, the wakeful spice of night,
The balm of Lansinoh speaks of motherhood, of strength and of might.
Then another little person came to join us, bringing the total here to four,
Enmeshing their own aromas: spilled apple juice, a bread crust, some jam on the door.
And still this ole’ factory keeps churning, fragmenting what was real,
Presenting it right back to me - bigger, stronger, with nothing to conceal.
It makes me wonder what’s being stored right now, so very bright and bold.
Which of these traces in the here and now will haunt me when I’m old?