Three steps beyond the doorsill, I’m horselike,
my nostrils flick; bearlike, snout to sky.
To sun-mellowed cement, I carry the scent
of morning toast unburnt, coffee uncreamed.
I put my nose to slug slime, to aphid lace and fresh
spider silk. Test my super- (or sub-) human olfactory skills.
The last dew to evaporate still holds the smell of stars
and nightjar feathers. Afternoon magnolias
spread their lemon-sweet tongues to a swoon
of bees, the metal smell of a belly-up beetle. Evening
jasmine orgasms. On the porch floor, the scurf of car
exhaust cools down for the next day’s accumulation.
Earth fumes give up their ghosts in a spring burial
that wafts me to a cemetery on the only hill in town,
where as a child I learned what loss smells like.
Something white. Lily. Hyacinth. Headstone.
Lillo Way's collection, Lend Me Your Wings, was released in May 2021 by Shanti Arts Publishing. Her chapbook, Dubious Moon, won the Hudson Valley Writers Center’s SHP Chapbook Contest. Her poems have won the E.E. Cummings Award and a Florida Review Editors’ Prize. Her writing has appeared in New Letters, Poet Lore, Tampa Review, Louisville Review, and Poetry East, among others. Way has received grants from the NEA, NY State Council on the Arts, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for her choreographic work involving poetry.