Issue 14
The Sweatshirt

When you plant your nose
to the cotton, smell

the smoke, the cornfields
after ten P.M., the night

before I left. Put your nostrils
to the neckline and dig deeper

than detergent, until you hit
how my skin smelled that summer:

like cold sand and a sunrise.
Don’t be afraid to bring your arms

through the sleeves, to lift your head
through the hole, to fill the space

where my ribs and lungs once knew
the name for warmth. Do this.

Cross your arms and look up—
past the moon and blackness

of outer space, into another blackness,
and smell there: oxygen thinning,

void without redwood or farm—
inhale the sweetness of flowers

and do not think of the distance
between a body and its heaven.

Look at your arms, the stained white,
the green lettering spelling Lady Vikes

across your heaving chest—smell this
other body. When your eyeglasses

break and it hurts too much
to touch the kettle on the stove,

when your tongue won’t deliver the words
needing to be said, put your face

to the dirt and breathe. Smell.
When our bodies come back

I’ll want them to remember
the scent.