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The Candle

 

When done with dune-backed beaches, tourists flock
to a Delaware museum that stocks candles,
allegedly perfumed with the aromatic yang of
the 47th United States Vice-President.
 
Whether footsore travellers search for blood
or blossom, bitter or neroli, this much we know:
Joe Biden does not – cannot – smell like oranges. Still,
who are we to judge the ache for Amtrak Joe?
 
Proust summoned his aunt with his teeth sunk
in a madeleine, the olfactory memory of all things
past and present in a girlish cake. My limbic lights
with the wick-tip flare of tapers in the bye-altar,
 
and waits, with all my patience, until the extinguishing.
The brief snuff of liquid wax, the rising 
of the final, lonely puff of soot, which smells just enough
like my grandmother to keep me Catholic: Oil of Ulan before bed,
 
Anaïs Anaïs for special occasions, fresh laundry
stiff from the February sun, the promise of
crumbed cutlets for dinner, Wheel of Fortune come five o’clock,
new-born love, raw memories, ashes, dust.

 

 

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  • Eleanor Jackson reads 'The Candle'