‘Carbolic’, Zoe Siobhan Howarth-Lowe

A stray memory filters up,

thrown out by a smell, I thought I had forgotten,

my hands are wreathed in the foam of it.

The moment is shattered,

hands, paused in the act of washing,

the running tap, runs on, unnoticed,

and my memory spits out words,

like Carbolic –

big square chunks of the stuff, in ‘Seventies Green’

sitting in dusty bathrooms.

I can taste the scent of it in my throat,

feel the texture as it coats the hands,

thickly foaming,

the smell lingering long after drying.

This is your scent,

the soap in dusty bathrooms,

the washing of hands.

Zoe Siobhan Howarth-Lowe is from Dunkinfield. She has an MA in poetry from Bath Spa University. Her work has appeared in Magma, Atrium, Ink Sweat and Tears, and issue 1 of Marble.

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