White Plumerias – Hyenjin Cho

On a narrow driveway uphill, on a distant road in Pune,
gaps between four white apartments
reveal the olive green hills behind

White paint chips off at corners to expose grey cement,
while the pool floods with rainwater.

However, moisture carries chilly winds,
and delivers the smell of White Plumerias.
From hills, into apartments, into your nose and lungs.

It smells of Vanilla and Jasmine ground with a pestle.
But it’s more than just Vanilla and Jasmine.

It smells dark and mystical,
Like first night outs with your date.
The wonder and danger of misty nights,
Orange lights reveal hazy features,
eyelashes fluttering in wonder.

It smells warm,
In the midst of monsoon winds.
Like a child embracing a puppy,
while splashing puddles
to get it under a roof.
Like mom’s embrace after a long day
Of rain and cloudy skies.

It smells joyful,
Like children exuberantly running in the rain.
Unaware that there’s a tomorrow
To care or worry about.
Like spontaneous laughter:
full of bliss, void of pretense,
Which no other laughter surpasses.

The smell is so strong;
It has a taste.
Taste of a working Mom’s hot chocolate,
made exclusively for when you’re sick,
made for rare walks with her.
encompassed by olive green leaves.
And White Plumerias