i used to think i still smelled you, after you'd gone,
confuse myself,
look for your shadow falling on a floor near a corner i couldn't see around.
then remind myself
i was only smelling the afterglow.
like an old scar that hurts in the rain
and the heat of cold, cold water
or the notes of song you just make out, over and again, in silence.

i didn't need to see you standing and shining in your ballgown
or see your lipstick stain on my cheek.
your perfume stayed longer and i loved it more
once i forgot it belonged to a person.
i could wrap up in it,
dance with it,
and pretend the cloud you left was all mine and mine.

it had scents no perfume ever should,
jasmine and hyacinth purer and sweeter than the roses themselves,
leaves on the ground in a golden evening
rain on a wooden porch in summer
fresh milk
clean dirt.

after a while, it wasn't as good on you.

and unreplenished, the memory drifts away on the wind
like perfume.

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