The Scent of Basil


 The scent of basil on her fingers pulled her back to their poor days. He grew herbs, in various sorts of repurposed containers, on the fire escape outside their tiny apartment. Supper was so often pasta, oil olive, garlic, and fresh or dried herbs.

Like a series of vignettes, tableaux, images formed: putting sprigs of rosemary into bottles he filled with olive oil; hooks in the crumbling plaster ceiling to hang drying herbs and hot peppers, friends and awful bottles of red wine keeping them talking ‘til dawn.

She tried not to but other slides slipped into her past projector: the passion that burned between them; his gentle touch against her skin; watching his ecstasy.

She shook her head and the images turned to snow globes. The cold and pointless gestures. Turned backs and angry voices. Flailing her fists at his chest. A slammed door. Silence. Loneliness. Loss.

She went to the sink, waited til the water was scalding hot, and scrubbed the scent of basil off her fingers. {168}


One thought on “The Scent of Basil

  1. Shadeau July 6, 2016 / 12:43 am

    WOW, Oh WOW—sometimes it’s hard to recover after reading your poetry–that’s a compliment, in case you missed it.


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