lethe


it’s an unexpected visit
a sudden face you recognize in a public space
that calls out your name
and waves

it’s a song you haven’t heard in a while
that reminds you of hours spent
writing lab reports for that class you hated

it’s the smell of humid plant life
after the first warm rainfall
that transports you to sunny lanais
and failed attempts at making juice
from the neighbours grapefruit tree

it’s the way your hair curls just so
that makes your throat seize
when ghost hands try to cop a feel

it’s the tang of aftershave labeled for men
that smells like your father, your uncles,
like strangers on the bus
their thighs pressed against yours

it’s the sight of the first shoots of spring
that make your limbs shrink
your hands stinging from the acrid sap of flowers
that your mother labels as ‘plants’ or ‘weeds’

it’s the displacement
the way your sight shifts ad distorts
and you have to chant your new name
listen to some new tune over the radio
anything to bring you back to now
away from the names you can’t quite put faces to
and the faces you’d much rather forget

© chris DINGLEY 2014

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