And paper smelled of pain.

The generations of scribbles
read together as lost words
that couldn’t connect
the rolling of empty train cars
with the people that had to
empty them.
Who owns letting paper
turn to ash?
Perhaps us all.
Pain smells of plastic
doll faces, the echoes you’ve
always tried to write down.
And images that keep
pushing into places they grew
out of long ago.
But not before they became
the smell of pain.
Pain smells like shadows
that vanish before you can turn.
And the needle that hurts to cure
“Only for a second”
before the poet smells the ink,
and it substitutes
what pain smells like.