By Isabelle Sanderson
This poem is meant to capture the unfortunately timeless experience of girls who find themselves powerless and shamed by an attempt at romance. We can take our place in history by acknowledging these sometimes uncomfortable realities even when others refuse to do so.
Putrid and sour at first the taste of morning breath generously spread over and inside her mouth. The smell of vanilla shampoo melting scalding water. Slow and thick hot air. Nutmeg soap apple-rose body scrub cinnamon body polisher almond shaving cream. More vanilla something chocolatey a tinge of ginger hair oil deliriously sweet hair spray saccharine hair gel hands running through strands of hair so soft and so thin running through fingers like water running through over and over cascading down pink freckles and pink acne. The dedicated movements of a dark mascara brush and then the smell of rain. A cloud of vodka and urine. something sour, something savory sticky subway floor harsh denim and canvas blood sweat laundry detergent gatorade, black tea, aftershave, burnt cheese and acidic tomatoes, gasoline. Then again, the smell of rain. A whiff of coffee of almond milk, oatmilk, 2% milk, cinnamon dust, chocolate powder, lemon tea, green matcha, clotted cream, thick jam, baked fruit, caster sugar. The smell of cologne. The jittering of legs. The fidgeting in scratchy pockets blush spreads hot across freckled cheeks. One hand inching closer across a cool granite table top desperate for first soft touch. Instead suddenly something squishy slimy vanilla chapstick acidic mint gum bitter coffee slimy mint and bitter acidic and slimy acidic and acidic acidic and bitter slime and slimy slimy and cold damp hands on burning skin and burning cheeks and still the oat milk and almond milk and cinnamon dust still the coffee pungent still the cold damp bitter acidic slime spreading like tentacles. Limp hands till the slime recedes and the smell of cologne grows fainter. Replaced by rain and salt water cooling burning cheeks. Something else too, something you can’t quite Place.
Isabelle Sanderson is an avid hiker, frequent doodler and a lover of used books. While she enjoys writing in all forms, she has a special love for letter-writing and annotating her favorite books. When she is not writing, Isabelle can be found hosting climate education workshops, lobbying local legislators or tutoring elementary schoolers.