But somewhere in the currents,/ a vein of remembered scent; and I said, Gardenia.


Nosegay. That was how you called it, did you not?
Could you have called the small bunch of gardenias
a better name? A yellow and white bouquet maybe?

But the flowers were scarce on the tree we knew
stood between your fascination and fiercest dream:
to collect a basketful of petals to strew on my path

whether I was coming or going, or simply leaving
our rock, the one you marked with entwined
hearts and secret names we called each other.

Neither the tides nor the brine will blur them,
nor will battering waves erase them—promises
you made with the scent of gardenia. I know.

A smell of knowing is what I call it now. Across
this table, while I snuggle close with every crack
of thunder, bolts streaking light on your face,

I hear your promise with the scent of gardenias.
Will I ever forget why you called it nosegay?
Flushed, you tried to explain but I kissed you then.

—Albert B. Casuga