PAD 2017 – Day 28

Writing that evokes or describes the senses can be difficult, and I think this is especially true of “smell” writing. Strange, since it’s often the sense that most evokes memory. Today’s Writer’s Digest prompt called for a “scent” poem, and I was reminded of my love-hate relationship with the smell that probably most sums up my Mom.


Phantom Smell



walking into a room

no one’s been in, I’ll catch

a sudden, pungent whiff

of cigarette smoke. The complicated

stink I hated when you were alive,

now makes me ache

for your hug.

For the sound of your raspy voice

saying, Don’t worry, kiddo.

It’ll all work out in the end.


Today’s Alberta poem comes from Calgary-based writer Joan Crate. Hear Ms. Crate reading “Boarding School” from her book Pale as Real Ladies: Poems for Pauline Johnson.
I’ve always loved the line: “reading poetry that floats and sinks to our polished shoes in pools of ash.”


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