This funny smell

I smell (which is funnier still

Since I don’t smell much anymore)


Reminds me of lying

In that space above the back seat

Of our ’55 Chevy when I was a kid,


My face pressed against the glass,

Stars sparkling, milky-thick

As that beacon of light the airport


Beamed into the night sky.

I’d watch it dissipate, slip away

Like the road behind and those ghostly


Shadows forever lost in space.

Hurtling above the hum

Of tires gripping the ground, I’d fall


Under the spell of motion and sound,

And that dank, dusty cardboard smell

Of my rear window observation


Berth—a cockpit in reverse.

The green-yellow glow from the dashboard

Back lit the rocket-ship I rode


Out of this world, into the unknown,

Toward the Outer Limits of the Twilight Zone:

Past the flashing neon of Marvin’s Bar,


The pulp mill bright as Cape Canaveral,

Down Frenchtown hill and by The Alcan

Bar then Coy’s Six Mile Tavern. Tunneling


Up through the timber on Cayuse Hill,

We’d spill over and out braking down

The steep grade then bank hard the long


Curve on theClark Fork oxbow sweeping

In front of The Nine Mile House. We’d shoot

Under the overpass and those electric


Joes pulling tons ofMilwaukee rail cars fast,

Race them all the way home to Alberton—

Hot boxes and trolley lines sparking.


My dad would stop at the depot to check

The line up and see when he’d be called

Next to ride a train east or west.


Across the street men came and went

From Chadwick and Boyd’s Tavern

Carrying work grips, lanterns, and paper bags


Of bottles—plodding like the living dead.

Our pilot would drop his crew with the chief

Cook and bottle washer, the one who


Was awakened by smells in her dreams.

She knew he craved the buzz

Of the neon planets, maybe a hand


Of panguine, or the Old Crow at Chet’s Bar.

He couldn’t tell her why he tried to slow

The dizzy pace he stumbled through


To get ahead or behind of what he hated to do.

She knew he’d left before he’d gone to get numb,

One sip beyond “who cares,” take that liquid


Escape into the foggy bog of nowhere—

Just disappear, like magic—leave no scent,

No tracks for the hounds to follow.

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15 Responses to SCENT OF A DREAM

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