Tonight I let my mind rest.
Let it curl up beside me,
On the old oft-repainted rocking chair.
Looking like the cat I know I would keep,
Were I not so violently allergic.
I wait until it begins purring,
Swatting it's perfect pyramid ears,
Dreaming a happy, runny, jumpy dream.
A dream where it is not my mind.
But a hero in a galaxy far, far away.
I tell my nose "He's asleep. Go. Take the pen on a date."
Now she doesn't exactly fancy my nose,
But he promises her a walk to remember.
And he's oddly good looking and charming.
In a large, angular, saucy sort of way.
They begin upstairs, entering my parent's room.
He tells her of nightqueen oils dropped in terracotta halos,
That the bulbs wear in all the pretty lamps.
My father's aftershave, and his musky scent,
My mother's perfume that smells like sanctuary.
They follow her scent out to the prayer room.
There's still a whiff of incense in the air,
Still that faint ozone residue of many matches struck,
And held to lamps lit diligently with pure ghee.
And of freshly picked flowers placed just so.
To the left is Akriti's room, says my nose.
Smiling at the smell of her laughter. Yes it has a smell.
Of a bouquet of whimsically chosen perfumes,
Of scented candles of vanilla and things stranger.
Of conquered hurt and unbearably tender hugs.
In the middle used to be the grandparent's suite.
Dusty and neglected even though it's cleaned everyday.
They never liked living here. It smells like rejection.
Like toys held ransom for time spent.
Of awkward kisses wet with beetle nut juice.
Then my nose smiled and showed her Ambika's room.
They tiptoed up because she's doesn't like to be disturbed.
But you can smell the body scrubs, and the hair oil,
And the sun baked skin, and that delicate heart,
Encased in polished armor and sarcasm.
Down the staircase they go. Following the scents,
Of frankincense smoke held in the daily censer.
Of freshly washed clothes carried up in Renu's arms,
That always smell like haldi and whatever,
Unrecognizable delight she's cooked for lunch.
Down to the lawn where the smell of freshly mowed grass,
Dewey leaves, wet flowers, and muddy earth. All dancing,
With the coming of a heavy monsoon. And the dogs,
At their stinky, slobbering, incorrigible best.
Bounding up with the stink of unimaginable things on their paws.
And finally he brings her back to my room.
Where the champa tree outside is always generous with her scent.
Where the smell of old books mixes with the charcoal sketches on the walls,
And that piquant whiff of blank new notebooks and ink.
All the colognes my father thought would smell better on me.
My pen smiles up at my nose. My large silly nose.
And rubs him gently on his frowning bridge.
She asks him to lay her down on the desk now.
And snuggle in against her, slowly.
Then she shyly tells my hands to turn off the light.