Categories
FALL 2012 Poetry

Thomas Lux

THERE’S A WORD FOR IT

When it rains on a dry garden, there’s a word
for the smell that results.
The word itself is not aromatherapy,
not to my ear.
The oily essence released is.
A word made from stone and the blood of gods,
if gods have blood.
It’s not a tasty word, not a word first for the mouth.
Not for my mouth.
I loved the smell.
I lived in a house surrounded by cornfields
and we needed the rain and when it did rain
we were glad for the silage it provided,
but no one ever said: Smell that!
No one said: Note the ozone notes,
the hint of cedar, and fresh grass stains.
Corn’ll stand up stiffer tomorrow, someone did say.
I’m glad there’s a word for it,
even though the theorists said language can’t
be trusted, (Oh where, oh where, did the theorists go/
I think I know.) I’m very glad
to learn there’s a word for it
though I’ll neither write it
nor ever say it aloud.
I will take it in my mouth, my nose, gulpfuls
with my lungs
until the former ceases to sniff
and the latter fly away
over the brown hills.
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Thomas Lux‘s latest collection is Child Made of Sand, (Houghton Mifflin 2012). Other books include God Particles, The Cradle Place; The Street of Clocks; New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995, a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The Blind Swimmer: Selected Early Poems: 1970-1975; and Split Horizon, winner of the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry and recipient of three NEA grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Lux holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry and directs the McEver Visiting Writers Program at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.