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Vol. 25, No. 4: Here / Away


by Anna Lena Phillips Bell

“the air smells each day of some newness”

For scant weeks in spring when the ground has had time to get warmer,
and all the white flowers whose forms are so hard to imagine  

are coming to bloom, and the air smells each day of some newness,
a sweetness whose name, like the scent, flags the tip of the tongue  

then leaves, leads me onward, leads bees on, leads moths, leads small flies
(for who knows which beast every flower is meant to attract  

and who can collect each one’s name?), I breathe in as much of 
the air as will flow through my lungs before—sudden, persistent—  

you lower down over the piedmont, imparting a one-noted
sweetness that has to content us all summer, for only   

a rare other fragrance can cut through those curtains of sugar.

From Anna Lena Phillips Bell,  Ornament  (University of North Texas Press, 2017).

Copyright 2017 Anna Lena Phillips Bell, reprinted by permission. 

Header illustration by Sally Morgan, Ratbee Press.

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