like woman

You smell
,he said,
his face in my hair,

Like …


Like the red earth clods upturned behind my daddy’s plow in the field
You smell like my grama’s closet – deep, dark and secret
Like that red mare after riding – lifting the saddle and blanket – her back damp
Like the saddle leather squeak at a trot
Like the autumn leaves deep under the tree – damp, rich, warm
Like sage after a rain like hard stones coming down, bruising
Like the sheets on my aunt’s bed, having been wrinkled by everyone in the family
Like the quilt on Big Mama’s bed – that read and pink one with the stars – thrown back where my mama was conceived and then again when she was born
Like the stained, soft rags my dad’s mama rinsed during her moontime
Like my mom’s nightgown hanging on the bedpost when I was a kid
Like the deep blackred of the rose
Like fresh from the clothes line, cotton pillowcases, still warm from the summer sun
Like papa’s soft, worn leather work gloves
Like the slow, squeaky slam of that old, peeling, green screen door
Like sunflower heads nodding heavy at dusk in the fields, waiting for the dark
Like fresh red plum jelly, ready on the counter for its seal of paraffin wax
Like that back pasture in the moonlight, tall grasses sighing in the night wind
Like the heavy grapes warm and ripe inside the shady arbor, hanging just out of reach
Like the thick heat in the orchard behind the house, the peach scent heavy on my tongue
Like the little puffs of dust rising in alarm as giant drops of rain meet the ground
Like the rows of tall green cotton stalks standing guard in the dry, white hot heat
Like the spicy puffs of Sweet Garret snuff powder escaping Big Mama’s fresh dip
Like the delicate, wrinkled, hand-embroidered hankies at the bottom of each pocket in each jacket in grama’s front closet
Like the bleached, ripe wood of the lake house dock extending out over murky green water
Like red beans, cornbread and buttermilk
Like long, freshly-sharpened, yellow Ticondaroga #2 pencils in my new book satchel ready for the first day of school
Like the first time I held our son in my arms and sank down inside his fresh-from-the-Source eyes

You smell
,he said,

Like Woman.

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