Christina A. Sharik


There was a smell about them
our friends, our loves, our men
I don’t remember what I thought
(that’s how long it’s been).

Thought about some old friends –
a few short days ago
thought about a guy who said
he couldn’t get make it go
away, or wash it off his clothes –
said it followed him around
and was even in his nose.

My husband had the same strange scent –
it was in the duffle bag he brought,
clinging to the clothes he wore…
I don’t remember what I thought.

I tried to put a name to this,
the musty of scent of war
I think the smell was “damp fear”
No fear I’d known before.

Oh, don’t ask him anything, “they” said,
when he comes home from War.
I think of these things after –
when I should have asked before.