Why do old women wear musky perfume?
They are not mothballs yet
and maggots still
are repulsed by their living flesh.
Yet they beautify themselves with a spritz of the scent of death.
Throughout the day they pass through hallways and houses and
drop little particles of themselves-
drip dust- only
unlike the rest of us,
they do not grow back quite fast enough,
so they wrinkle and wilt and shrink and
spritz themselves dead before their day. It’s
retirement, spending every day rocking the world away and wishing
you'd had more notice you'd be dying at sixty-five.
Young women wear bright scents, cupcake spritzers
Very Sexy Spray. Cherry Lip Balm. Good enough to eat.
Coconut deodorant, red-raspberry shampoo.
mango body wash
Pink Sugar Perfume.
We are succulent in our apple-bottom jeans and our fruit-of-the-loom,
Our Candie’s Tees and Junk Food bracelets. Forget breath mints,
Girls suck Jolly Ranchers and chew Juicy Fruit gum.
Girls don’t poop.
Our rooms are filled with incense and vanilla-scented candles. Fans and airflow.
We play music in the background so boys can’t hear our stomachs rumble.
Girls don’t sweat.
Our gym bags radiate Febreeze, our nike shorts talcum.
We dress to be cold;
nothing is worse than a sweat stain.
We totter through life on too-high heels, dripping candy glitter.
We must always be appetizing.
When I am an old woman,
I will forgo Chanel No. 5 and those deep, potpourri counter scents in etched bottles and
I will keep my skin-
the scent of my soap and hard shower water.
I will smell like my last cigarette sixty going on seventy years ago.
I will smell like my lover when I was one.
My morning spritz -hair-neck-chest- will be freshly mowed lawns and burning leaves and chlorine and snow.
Yesterdays will saturate my skin
I will wrinkle and leave the creams to younger me.
I will surf the waves of time and come in recklessly with the tides and let them pull me back out again,
anytime the moon decides.
When I am an old woman, there will be a thousand thousand photographs of me and what I've been and
I will not glance at a single one.
Scrapbooks are for the living to remember the dead who have not stuck in memory.
I am not dead yet.
When I am an old woman, I will wear my hair down or in braids instead of a low-maintainence chop and
I will eat however I feel like eating,
I will sleep whenever I feel like sleeping
I will argue with nobody and
I will always be right.
When I am an old woman, I will.
For now, I wear my perfume.