Last year May I discovered my sense of smell was gone. A month long battle with a virus I picked up shaking hands with the Washington State Poet Laureate Sam Green ended with total alienation from the world the way I'd known it before. "My nose is an empty house," I wrote, "Totally defunct of any smell."
Slowly and not steadily at all, a bit of sensory experience comes back to me. Little by little I've found my way around not smelling. Burned toast, blasting fire alarms, fastidious cleansing of refrigerator shelves and drawers and still, yes unbelievable but true, still cooking up a pretty good meal. My sense of smell gone, I, the one who could tell you what was in a dish by smelling and tasting am flying by the seat of my pants. A dash of this, a dash of that, never too much, just right and yes, more than edible, tasty, as always my sweetheart and friends assure me.
As for the roses, faintly, ever so faintly I detect a sullen perfume, a hint, no more and if I didn't have my nose burried between the petals, if you just let me smell with my eyes closed, I doubt I would smell anything, but with my eyes wide open, taking in the subtle hues of buttery yellow and shocking reddish pink, I know: A rose, is a rose, is a rose, no matter how faint the perfume.