The scent on my wrist means

my husband’s making perfume again;
a euphemism for nothing—he spends days
hunched over bottles, inhaling molecules
of skin, searching for a whiff of wanton. 

At dinner parties, he wafts eloquent on
theories of scent: Turin’s waves, Pauling’s shapes. 
Amoore claimed seven odors only, most having
to do with sex: fish, sweat, musk, sperm. 

Our dog smells a million things, detects deceit
on a single sigh. My husband’s nose covets
hundreds, each odor unique. My senses, wavering,
notice nothing. Neither lipstick nor clean collar.

To me, the world is not made of scents, but
shape and color. He is dark trapezoid. Me,
an hourglass with open legs. She, an
alabaster violin whose strings I tweaked. 

How could I have thought he would not sniff her out?
I want to be the mistress of perfume. No,
empress. Under my rule, the scent-as-shape
theory would hold true, pale bodies fit together  

to complete and release, as easy as key into lock.
You could detect scent’s shape with your fingers:
All affairs would smell three-sided, perfume vials
made of crystal would never shatter.

Shanna Germain has collected rejections from a wide range of anthologies, websites and publishers. When she's not making paper mache lions from her "thanks but no thanks" letters, she writes. Her award-winning poems, essays, short stories and novellas can be found in places like Absinthe Literary Review, Best American Erotica, Blood Fruit: Queer Horror, Eclectica, Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly, Juked, Salon and more. Visit her at

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