Flat and metallic, my tongue  
like disinfected aluminum.  The scent 
conveyed from nose to throat,
a sympathetic gag almost. 
Vapors wave before my eyes.
Clorox, ghost of scents past,
seemingly obsolete, you’ve come back.

You were banned, like death,
things we thought we’d conquered.
The stink of fear, soured dispositions,
army hospitals of World War I.
Mass attack on love and senses.
A stifling way of stifling risk.
All those no’s — for women endless.

We dared, three sheets to the wind, 
cheek to cheek, Paris. The perfumes 
of eros sharp and sudden, riveting, 
beyond magnificent.  We skirted 
to the dark side of the abyss 
which, as we know, make 
fragrance all the more intense.  

But damn it if the frowning mothers 
have their day,
if a room fresh with bleach 
is the madeleine of 2020. 

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