Always the Scent of Gardenias

from by Jill Battson

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Always the Scent of Gardenias

at the Laurentian Room with Darryl

In ten seconds the weight in your grasp
fricassees to an urgency through the delicacy of politeness
twin lozenge of soft caved burgundy
a dropped ceiling that crushes sound, crushes heat down into the crowd
spritz of sweat sheens my top lip
as red tones wash everything
the cinnamon bartender looking like Hemingway’s Cuba
the pale cocktail into a climaxed gold glow
the thin fabric of your too-tight tee shirt pulling erect nipple flat lilac
the pink prints your fingers erupt into my flesh
as I am microcosm’d into a frenzy of desire
for the way your shirt pulls its fan of fabric across your armpit, chest
the room stops still as I watch the muscles of your cheek pull your mouth into a smile

has always evoked a sadness of evergreen in me
snow-bent winter limbs over glossy winding mountain roads
a singular car journey laced with open-eyed loneliness

not the promise of this heat-stunned sickness
flooding my mouth slick as saliva, viscous as desire
as your fingers ache me, your knee forces its bone into my groin
martini glasses glint orange over the cherry wood bar
clatter of ice soundtracks the colour of your eye
I lean into you, catch the smell of soap, tinge of your body,
the rum warming your mouth
and the slight fragrance of heavy gardenia blooms


from gratitude songs, released June 17, 2013



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Jill Battson Toronto, Ontario

Jill Battson is an interdisciplinary poet. She has written several plays as well as the libretti for two operas and produced an electro acoustic sound art project. Dark Star Requiem, for which she wrote the libretto, premiered at Toronto’s Luminato Festival in 2010 and was published in book form. Her new collection, The Ecstatic Torture of Gratitude, was recently published by Guernica Editions ... more

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