In memory of Joe . . .  1976 – 1997


On Sundays you used to walk

her miles through these trails

along the lake;  mud bubbling under

heavy boots, leaves swishing

on vinyl sleeves. She sniffs each

vine and leaf now, as if your scent

lives in their veins, echoing back

to the place where she thinks

she lost you –a trail far off

to the left of the lake.


She thought she found you once,

in an old sock she discovered

a few weeks after,

burying her nose in deeper

–as if  she could resurrect you

through the weave and warp

of the cloth; Searching cotton mazes,

like trails along the lake on Sunday

mornings that still come,

though they left you behind . . . .


Amber glints of sun reflect

off her back as we round

the eastern shore. Strangers stare

at the murky water

by our car. She greets them, back end

swinging. Her nose pressed

into their ankles, hunting,

for evidence of that left-leaning

trail that holds you –

just out of reach.


4 thoughts on “Scent

  1. Lisa, wow. I love this. I like how you show grief through the eyes of a pet as well. I once saw a video of a German shepherd that would lie down next to his owner’s grave and cry for him. A reminder of the bond we share with our pets and how much they love and miss us.

    • For about a year after my brother passed, his dog would run around looking for him. Connected the dog’s experience helped me see how visceral grief can be for any species. I remember smelling my brother’s coat because it smelled just like him. It was sad when his scent receded back into the ether. It was like he disappeared. I had to figure out how to find him again.

  2. I kept my papaw’s shirts and jacket. I love the smell and I feel sad about the ones that have lost that scent. But then, I still see his smile in pictures.

    • It’s amazing how simple things can become so precious when we consider the impermanence of life. Remembering the smiles and good times, along with creating new ones is a great way to keep their beautiful spirits alive.

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