domingo, 9 de julio de 2017

Small Murders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Richard Avedon 1969

When Cleopatra received Antony
on her cedarwood ship,
she made sure he would smell her
in advance across the sea:
perfumed sails, nets sagging with rosehips
and crocus draped over her bed,
her feet and hands rubbed in almond oil,
cinnamon, and henna.

I knew I had you when you told me

you could not live without my scent,
brought pink bottles of it,
creamy lotions, a tiny vial of 
drop lasted all day.
They say Napoleon told Josephine
not to bathe for two weeks
so he could savor her raw scent,
but hardly any mention is ever
made of their love of violets.
Her signature fragrance: a special blend

of these crushed purple blooms for wrist,
cleavage, earlobe.
Some expected to discover a valuable
painting inside
the locket around Napoleon’s neck when he died,
but found
a powder of violet petals from his wife’s
grave instead. And just
yesterday, a new boy leaned in close to whisper
that he loved

the smell of my perfume, the one you
handpicked years ago.
I could tell he wanted to kiss me, his breath
heavy and slow
against my neck. My face blue from
the movie screen—
I said nothing, only sat up and stared straight ahead. But
by evening’s end, I let him have it: twenty-
seven kisses

on my neck, twenty-seven small murders of
you. And the count
is correct, I know—each sweet press one
less number to weigh
heavy in the next boy’s cupped hands.
Your mark on me washed
away with each kiss. The last one so cold,
so filled with mist
and tiny daggers, I already smelled
the blood on my hands

- Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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