When I smell vanilla body spray, I sometimes go back to the scene where I first surrendered a piece of me in my desperate search for love. It’s maddening, but I can literally get the same keyed-up sensations I did then…

Vanilla-scented memory.

Not every time, but, once upon a

Summer’s morn,

I catch enough of a whiff that it

Awakens the oddest sense of


Back to the dizzy anticipation,

Back to the knotted-up anxiety,

An awkward teenage tumble of

Supposed-to-be’s and terror

Tugging for attention in my belly.

Again I become a shy wisp of a wisp,

Preparing to open myself in ways

I will live to regret…

Liberal douses of the body spray kind

Fill my cracker box room,

Aromatic testament to

A foolish girl’s hopes of

Smelling nice,

Being pretty,

And, of course,

Cooperatively pleasing.

Only later did I feel soiled,

Ragged, and shamed…

Only now can I see through 

Hindsight’s wiser eyes,

How little worth it is was,

These painstaking moments of

Donning the fragrance of expectation,

For the me he got was never really me in the first place.

And the me I am?

Well, it has taken these 

Long, long years to even truly see again…