Its scent weakened by passing time
My nose snuggles next to its eroded cake
Not like before
When powerful spice cartwheeled out of a newly opened package
Stockpiled for days that never came
Eight years murmuring manly man perfume
Sneaking out, now fading into wisps of memory
Whispers not shouts.
Whispers like those memories I seek to capture from before
Pain eased into bits of sorrow
Engulfing swallows become gasps and sips
This sliver fades, the last one.
I wet my fingers, smudge into this smooth green remnant
Close my eyes and breathe in flooding memories
Until they float off again
This eroded cake of spice and manly man
Its scent weakened by passing time.
A few notes
At Dad’s 1995 retirement from the Port of Portland, a favorite staff member handed out large lapel buttons with a photo of Dad and a phrase something like “Happy retirement to a Manly Man.” While I can’t define the term, I’ve never forgotten it.
If you are too young or don’t remember commercials, this old one might trigger your memories or explain a bit about the marketing of this product. Dad stockpiled grooming products. Upon his death I did give away most of the unopened boxes but set one at my bathroom sink, which is captured in the image above as it looks today, eight years later.