Tag Archives: self-esteem



you shower
slough off the day’s smells
the smoke from someone’s cigarette
the tang of fried breakfast
the ghost of your daily skin routine
an uninvited whiff of aftershave, picked up
from an over-friendly neighbour
and your own stale sweat

you slough off every
clinging hint of yesterday
wash your hair
and rinse the dirt and soap away

emerging like a squeaky babe
you dry yourself and stand naked

there it is again
freed from the weight of imported smells
your polished surface emits a reek
that no scrub can erase
you search to find its cause; its core
but you search in vain
the smell escapes, mutates
changing from pig to stale milk to rotting eggs
every day, the same transmuting stench
invades your self-esteem

you spread your flesh with fragrant cream
laying a foundation for exterior smells to build on

layer by layer they adhere
the smoky haze, the greasy spoon,
the aftershave lifted from the neighbours hand
giving you a list of excuses
for your redolence

©Jane Paterson Basil