Smell | Teen Ink


March 25, 2021
By piperw811 PLATINUM, Pittsford, New York
piperw811 PLATINUM, Pittsford, New York
29 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"chemistry between people is the strangest science of all" - Bridgett Devoue

Sitting in the chapel, the candles

Burn brightly in front of us and I catch

A whiff of the burning, woodsy aroma from the wax


The evocative scent whisks me away -  

Ten years old, with my grandparents,

Playing games and sitting around a fire

A Christmas Tree is lit but

Our happiness keeps the room warm

Everyone laughing and smiling

So much easier


Holding my breath for as long as I can

Afraid if I breathe out, the memory will leave

And it disappears, without warning


My heart goes still.


No grandparents.

No happy family.

No Christmas Tree.


No memory.


Where did it come from?

I want it back


The scent, the smoke from the candle,

It triggers another memory.

The Tree, it smelled the same way.


I haven’t seen my family in so long.


They’re gone, along with the memory

I ache to inhale another scent

To recall another story

But the smell withdraws

And my efforts are seemingly useless.


My hands – numbed and charred – remain as

A mark of my past life;

A life I can no longer recall.


A life I long to remember.


Moments and flashes of stories are evoked,

Told through scents and scars.

My story may be too tragic to tell.


Maybe I can still tell it, but without any words.

The author's comments:

Smell is a part of Senses, a collection of poems dedicated to our five senses. I love the idea of smell being a retainer of memory; very acute scents can trigger the barest wisps of memories. These memories also have a mind of their own – they don't like to stick around for too long, so we have to hold onto them whenever they arise. 

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