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I learned a new language today,
       one comprised
             of fragrances:

       each word a combination of
morphemes of scent,

the head note, mid note, and heart note
       forming footholds of syntax.

I tried to recreate you in this language.

I distilled your smile into
       the sweetness of lychee, placed it
       in the head note: always the first part of you
that I notice.

In the mid note I placed
       lemongrass and tobacco,
             warm and spiced, resonant in the air,
       a scent that embraces me, clings to my red dress,
             says in your golden tones:
       I’m here for you.

And into the heart I breathed
those heavier notes:
       the gunsmoke that chases ever after you,
             the silver that burns against your skin,
                   the musk of something wild, untamed.

It’s you, almost—then I realize
       what’s missing:

the word we share
       that fills my lungs,
lingers sweet on my tongue,

       too large
for only one sense.



S. Qiouyi Lu is a writer, artist, narrator, and translator; their fiction is forthcoming from Daily Science Fiction and GlitterShip, and their poetry has appeared in Liminality and inkscrawl. You can visit their site or follow them on Twitter as @sqiouyilu.
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10 Feb 2020

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