To be labeled as a new arrival,
in maternity wards, at baggage claims, a shop’s window display,
softly pink and weary travels and small paper tags.
To be born, to be delivered, to be bought and to be sold.
Or perhaps it’s a Christmas gift wrapped in shiny red paper
and safely tucked under an aluminum tree.
Another trinket, another bauble, another treasure,
the latest addition to a lifelong collection.
But somehow, for me, it’s my mother
who has always worn a different perfume,
adding a new bottle nearly every season,
but each one holding the same notes.
I’ve known thirty odd years of warmth
and amber and woody vanilla, perhaps a touch
of sugared coconut or southern magnolia.
Just when I think she’ll have found a final trademark
she floats past me at the breakfast table,
awash in something new, still warm, and
undeniably designed for the crook of her neck,
her softly creping inner elbow,
and her slim bird-boned wrist.