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Cold Lunch

and i smell the first day of school.
everyone's lunches          the latkes, halal
our clothes a canvas for anxious hands
shaky spoons of harissa paint; a nervous wreck
of art.
sacred sandwich from mom
peeking from the seam of twice folded
biblical parchment.
the sterile cold lunch room. scalpels on trays
autopsies at eye level.
formaldehyde getting the better of me
with nitrile gloves, slippery grips, digging in.

i smell the kindergarten classroom
the sun on the chalkboard making
the most of dust
our desks fresh for the year and a fragrant
no. 2 pencil like that fragrant fish fried in hoisin for Henry’s lunch. His mom making the most of Hanoi in Brooklyn.
my myriad folders.
               blue grammar.
                              waxy green math.
                                           red history.

i smell the morning cartoons. clinging to morsels.
perhaps an after-credits scene that would last
well, forever.
a spoon under my pillow, incantations for snow.
a lump in my throat like a dumpling.

I smell the hotel room. hygienic sheets
               do not disturb
the pool a tinge of chlorine green. Unpacking a condensed identity for the week
an old nintendo and late night ice cream.
Mysterious exchanges with the girl next door and letting summer get the best of flirtatious twinges in the neck.

V. I smell each birthday. Acrid wax stolid on icing. With each blow sinking a little deeper into earth.
Exhales of petrichor. One more morsel of moss on the roof. This old house. The receding grass line. The
eternal citronella of summer, collecting spent matches    sweet gasoline of the ice cream truck.

Frank Carellini’s lives have been of a biologist, then businessman. In Belize, he studied the networks of termites learning the place of humankind in the cosmological food chain. More recently, he spent a couple of years re-programming biological life to do useful and interesting things for society and helping tech startups get off the ground. He says of poetry that it is “…a mechanism for me to grasp the enormity, urgency, and evanescence of the natural world and our place within it.”