When I put my face against my dog’s,
I smell dirt and grass and whatever he last rolled in.
When he kisses my lips, a coppery after-taste
remains as a reminder.
It is not so much that I like the pungent outdoor odor
or the sharp metallic taste
as that I love my dog
and those smells and that taste are associated with him,
so that some of the love for the being
is transferred onto the attributes.
Then, each smell, each taste, apart from the being,
is attached to a memory of a face pressed against mine—
It may hit me miles away.
A cool fall breeze reminding me of the scent
of my dog returning indoors from wrestling
with a pile of orange leaves.
This is what I felt when I drank Guinness after you—
in tasting what your mouth savored,
I tasted you.
When I drink Guinness,
it is because I want
to kiss you.
In your always present absence
it is my dog who kisses my face.
But just for a second, I imagine
there is a smell of spiced leather
and a taste