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By Amy Mariaskin

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

Bloodhounds can smell history.

Overlaying past on present:

300 million scent receptors

and a face to gather them.

My nose is far simpler,

But she’s eager to please.

Almond scented lotion is

1995, and glue sticks are

fifth grade art, and

honeysuckle is

perennial hope.

It barely felt like a virus.

Just a runny nose,

some coughing and then:

Olfactory static

I realize

(Only in its absence)

That caraway seed

Is the scent of my desk,

that chlorine on my

arms calms me,

that tasting the morning

wakes you up quicker.

I sniff my dog’s paws,

desperate for a whiff

of familiarity:

Pseudomonas and Proteus.

He gives me a serious look.

It comes back slowly.

I savor the stench

as much as the sweetness.

The affective roadmaps

a faint source of light.

Trails of what was

and now is

in a different way.


Amy Mariaskin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and founding director of the Nashville OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center. She is author of the book, Thriving in Relationships When You Have OCD, published in 2022 by New Harbinger Publications. She is new to poetry. Amy writes from Nashville, TN.


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