Scent of a Morning
 
Lie with eyes closed, don’t yet know if I’ll wake

to a world of love or hate,

the first thing I sense with all the sensors

in nose and sinuses, is the smell in the room,


the smell of skin, hair, nails, of wild creatures in the bedroom,

yesterday's black panthers unleashed,

though human shoes flow past the bed,

fragrance-heavy remnants of dreams glued to the brain,


fragrance of sleep-lifted hair, washed through by sleep,

hypersensitive morning skin, relaxed, pain-free

morning muscles, the daily resurrection

of the reflexes, fragrances of warm, naked sex,


an acrid smell of morning urine in the toilet, intense mint-smell

of toothpaste when I press it out of the tube, fragrance

of the warm, lime-rich water from the shower, of wet skin,

of wet hair, olive-scented shower gel, fruity shampoo,


vegetable aroma of cream deodorant, faint scent

of beeswax in the day cream for the face, in the winter skin lotion,

odourless ointment for wounds, lesions and torments of the soul,


sweaty, sticky, dirty smells from yesterday

cling to my clothes, I replace them with scents

of newly washed clothes fetched out of the closet.


The fragrance fills out from the steam-filled bathroom,

The kitchen emits smells of food from yesterday, smoke

from an adjacent room finds its way through cracks,

drowns out the subtly spicy spring scent


of winter aconite placed in a cream jug on the table,

the smell orgy from the dish of fruit and vegetables,

faint floral scent of fine-leaved Assam tea

from districts by the River Brahmaputra in north-west India,


the grain cracker smelling of rye flour, the nutty

scent of a firm cheese or white mould smell of a brie,

the peapod-smelling peppers, the vitamin pill’s chemical smell,


sharp tangy scent-drops from citrus peel split the second,

call forth a tremor of unease around the cat's whiskers,

the sum of everyday smells that are again drowned by the air 


from an open window because each morning the clean

changes places with the dirty, as when

the filled rubbish bag is taken down and a new one is set up,

fresh scents sweep through the room now,


smells of drizzle, wet tree-trunks, wet asphalt, bird calls,

smell of the incomprehensible, the material, cinders, something on the way,

the smell from the mug filled with steaming hot Mexican coffee


with freshly boiled milk, triggering each morning a violent sneeze,

the sweet fragrance of coffee at once makes itself stand out

as the only thing I perceive, penetrates,

tickles its way into the nose’s walls to get ready for the day's work.


PIA TAFDRUP (translated by David McDuff), from THE SMELL OF SNOW (LUGTEN AF SNE, 2016)