They say you can’t describe a smell,
but when I’m in the bath or shower I want to say
where these scents send me:
to a special place in memory, or merely to the hotel room
where first I was suffused by Templetree or Silver Birch
or where the drenching of sweet Bushukan
transported me to honeyed glades or back
to other hotel rooms where odours spoke of luxury, enchantment,
and the softening thighs of dreaming girls.
These colours and these scents combine at 7.25 am
and for a moment drug me with perfume and with turquoise,
or drown me in their glowing amber pools.
Later comes the plunge in milky waters with a book:
I’m all but drinking the elixir of Fenjal,
an oil of blueish green that speaks
of foreign nights and vintage Vogues,
of willowed women in exquisite robes.