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Scent

By Gene Grabiner

Oh so subtle scent of a new baby’s head

never forgotten

Buddleia, the butterfly bush, honey before it’s made

Smell of desire upon waking

Wild phlox, mauve & white alike

Rain spattering the sidewalk; the Bronx, rising in air

Spinach in garlic, in oil

Painted suillus, fresh-plucked from under white pine

at Upper Richardson, Maine woods

Fine mushroom fresh or dried

Chicken soup, all the generations it bears

Laundry dryer sheet

smelling like raw gum opium

Ginseng, ginseng, ginseng

Crushed sage on California cliffs, rubbed into hair;

tang of memory

Arc of olfactory bulb, hippocampus, amygdala

Reminder of when

we were still in the trees

Smell of leopard

& we hit the ground & crouched

stood up in shrouding grasses

Smell of lion

GENE GRABINER will be the featured poet at this month’s Screening Room Series reading at 7:30 p.m. June 18, at 3131 Sheridan Drive in Amherst. He is professor emeritus of social sciences at Erie Community College, where he retired in 2011 as SUNY Distinguished Service Professor after 37 years of teaching. This poem is from a forthcoming collection titled “The Deeper Science.”