my kids always smell like the last person who held them.
elegant perfume on my friend Jamie,
my sisters’ long clean hair,
warm spice of Nona’s lotion,
their father’s sharp aftershave.
these tangible reminders of elbow crooks,
of tender curves between neck and shoulder,
of pullover sweaters and winter scarves,
alight on the skin of my children,
play through their dark hair,
settle into threads and seams of impossibly small
tube socks and
bright red toddler cardigans.
and I carry these children,
through the wink of sunrise across their faces
to bleary moonlit hours at my breast,
kissing lightly, inhaling deeply,
imagining all the while how
could translate into chemistry,
into invisible volatile molecules
touching down and dissipating,
blended reminders of caresses and joy.
heart notes create a symphony
on my children’s skin,
impressions of the world we leave behind.