Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ara Arzumanian: A Memory of Smoke

The inside of my skull still swims in the memory of smoke
Blue, dense, brown, white and ashen clouds of black smoke
The smell of wood and metal engulfed in flame
The smell of burning engine oil
The algorithmic undulations of the poisonous black ether produced by
burning plastic
The odor of water dousing those flames; the sound of crackling wood
The unmistakable odor of burning human hair
The catastrophic smell of singed human flesh.
Some bullets pass through the body with such great velocity, that the
blood actually boils at the point of contact

A kitchen painstakingly cleaned by strong and proud hands
The hand embroidered doily which graced the breakfast table where a
sugar bowl was forever present next to the bowl of walnuts and raisins
The high chair in which she fed her son a soft boiled egg with butter
and salt each morning

The splatter of blood on the wall
The drips of it upon the ground
The startled expression upon her face
The final odor she knew in this world—that of her own singed flesh,
punctured kidney, and burnt liver
The collapse
to the yellow tile floor
The dissipation of the smoke exhaled by a disastrous revolver.

The yellow, holy smoke of incense burning at her funeral
The inconsolable despair of a motherless two-year-old boy.


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