by Martha Deborah Hall
I hope I’ll be able to bring these memories with me to my grave as I slide into death:
Let me smell the Long Island Sound that beckoned me to come and play in the mornings of my youth, the scent of cedar sawdust wafting in the air as dad and I sawed logs for August evening fires at our summer home in Bethlehem. Preserve within me the aroma of talcum powder worn by our mother as she hugged us after nightly prayers, the perfume of coral roses on the end table welcoming us from school, the scent of white gardenias brought inside in flower boxes to protect them from sudden cold, the aroma of his musky smell after we made love, the scent of his sweet breath as we woke each morning and of his pillow case, on which a little cowlick formed every night. Give me sniffs of Shalimar, and, also, Jergen’s lotion that soothed my winter’s dry, chapped hands. Aromas of tenderloins cooking on our Weber grill I’ll also beg for. Let me, for some odd reason, inhale chlorine smells of our spotless pool as squealing children splashed in it on summer’s sun-filled days. Let me breathe deep and inhale leaves mixed in autumn’s recipe that included new mown grass. Stop me in my tracks; bring back, face to face, the everlasting sense of his always being next to me.
Martha Deborah Hall is the author of ten books of poetry, including The Closing, The Opening (forthcoming from WordTech Press), Two Grains in Time and My Side of the Street (both from Plain View Press), along with four chapbooks, most recently Mooring Lines (Finishing Line Press). She was honored by the New Hampshire Poet Laureate to be one of NH’s featured poets on his web site. Holding degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University and Columbia University, she is a member of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire. www.marthadeborahhall.com
Cornelius Bull lived in Istanbul, Sedona, and Vienna in his youth and was an art history major. He has been a middle school teacher, volunteer in a Thai refugee camp, B&B manager, and study program administrator in the UK. He currently lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire and is writing and illustrating a book on the mytho-poetics of betweenness.