An Olfactory Aria

| Ellen Skilton |

When Maslow charted the human

hierarchy of needs

he labeled food a mere necessity

but what my taste buds touch

fuels more than digestion,

each morsel part of an olfactory aria

that hums through all the homes

where my table has been set

for palate pleasures

and the minor chords that bind us 

Jumbled joy and homemade aromas

In beet-juice lipstick and rouge 

on my toddler face

those lamb chops I keep pleading for

and the Monday night steak dinners

the orangest of orange Fanta

and Bossa Nova playing

baked potatoes joining sour cream and butter

dancing alongside roasted onions

blue cheese dressing flirting with creamy French

That peanut butter and butter sandwich

leaves a patina of heartburn hues

over the thrill of a thirteen candled birthday cake –

a sleepover cacophony,

and kickball in the church basement

midnight pizza dough stuck to the ceiling

after truth or dare leaves us unsteady,

famished for the daytime contours of friendship –

those pop songs of the afternoon radio

less audible in the haze of the night

Pumpkin, lemon poppy seed, banana lime coconut

quick breads singing love songs on Saturday mornings

or gift-wrapped under a tinseled tree

decaf earl grey and hot cocoa carols

warming the throat and smoothing the edges

dark chocolate dreams whispering secrets

in bittersweet harmonies

I could sing in my sleep

Ellen Skilton is a professor of education whose creative writing has appeared in The Dewdrop, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Scapegoat Review, and The Dillydoun Review. In addition to being a poet, she is an educational anthropologist, an applied linguist and a Fringe Fest performer. She is in the second year of an MFA Program in Creative Writing at Arcadia University. She is also an excellent napper, a chocolate snob, a swimmer, and lives in Philadelphia with a dog named Zoomer, a cat named Katniss and some lovely humans.

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