Smells lose cultural connotations. They are information,
trail and detail introduction to their source. Emotion,
exertion, state of decay, debilitation, danger.
I smell dawn approaching before telltale lightening
of the sky. I smell Autumn approach my hidey-hole,
and know my day is starting, hear its rhythm in
The day is warm. Her aroma is charged with the city’s
hum and drain. As refuge, audience, soulmate, I am
called by her entrance into her spell.
Despite the heat, she has energy to burn. We play
a dance game. In turn each will dance while the other
devises accompaniment in song, lyrics in tune with the
story the dance expresses.
Autumn leaps out angry energy. Wild rage soaks through
her t-shirt and short pants. She pulls them off, incorporating
that motion into her rhythm, flings the clothing aside like
token barricades against her avenging fleet.
My unnatural body takes no note of cold, heat, naked
humanity. I am immersed in singing anger, outrage, clean
intensity of desire to emote, expel.
Seer of fire burns denial
Caustic screams pierce blocked ears
Stomp, crash, splinter, tear apart
Venial enemy ducks darts of wrath
projected from fierce protectors
Demolish leering jokesters. Smash smug detractors.
Craven brutality, vengeance a mad extension
Slash, smash ruinous ecstasy aroused in righteous ire
Ground down to dust, unappeased,
I whirl into icy wind; blow you away!
She furiously acts out in total seriousness, outward
abandon, a pure physicality. All in, all consumed,
concentration on an inner mapping for full effect.
Trapped emotion released, she winds down. A sodden
lump, she quietly declares intermission.
I emit a round of stunned applause, her adoring audience.
Her song, I humbly acknowledge, pulled from me by the
force of her movements. She smiles, gives seated bow
head into chest with arm flourishes. Winks as her head
rises to face me.
She holds long pause, regaining balance, calming breath,
relaxing connective tissue. Not long, she is ready to
reanimate, to take refreshment of more simple energy.
She motions for me to pass her backpack, pulls from it
an apple, her water bottle and sketchpad.
“Look. I want to show you how much work I’ve done on
our superhero adventures comicbook.”
I take the sketches. Her cartooned image appears
remarkably true to life.
“Is that really how I look?”
She smiles a broad affirmative, though the pictured child
seems to shine with almost ethereal innocent grace.
Autumn continues to eat the apple, then studies the seeds
for what they may tell of her future. Seemingly satisfied,
she throws seeds and core into a small plastic bag for
“I’ll throw them in sidewalk cracks. Give them a chance
to sprout, or maybe get carried along to somewhere they
Intermission over, I take my turn on stage.
I galumph through silly walks, poses, play the fool
Autumn leaps up, out to grab my hands. We jump about,
singing silly phrases, laughing into each other’s laughing face.
Eventually, emotion exhausted, we fall onto a pillow, curl into
each other’s outline, become a dance of contented silence.