the smell
Christine Herzer

he came in a square & orange box
with brown ribbons
that was in 1999,

unlike many beauty things

HERMES avoids splashy advertisement
tiptoes slowly into new markets
never goes on sale

HERMES was not
your reason for stealing
meditation is not
why you are coming to this ashram

your getting high has nothing to do with cashmere

did you watch me/
build/ a tower on a black plastic chair/
in the ashram's open-eating-area using/
the two green parcels filled/ with books/ from Paris/
i had retrieved in the morning/ from the ashram's post office?

did watching me fold & gently place
HERMES in-between the parcels
make you come?
did you notice the lovely contrast
between my shawl's dark maroon
color and the lime green of the parcels?

i didn't think so

i put my hemp bag on top, and
added a water bottle, for protection,
then left, for the Western-style toilets
wallet in my right hand, to change

the tampon is a newmodern form
of menstrual protection,
unmarriedgirls can use them withcompleteconfidence

let's look at our protection deficit
for a moment:

does stealing feel like complete sex to you?
is it a protection from bleeding?

please don't co m e before this poempenetratesyou, okay?

did you watch me returnlooking for HERMES
not understanding how,
when everythingwater bottle, hemp bag
was still2 lime green parcels filled with books from Paris
sitting on top of each other
the middle partdark maroon cashmere
made of HERMES wasn't?

i am straight, unmarried,
i don't remember everything i know

he came in a square & orange box
with brown ribbons
that was in 1999,

you took him on july 15th, 2004
i didn't change tampons that day, i wasn't bleeding
i reported the theft at the main gate to an Indian boy who smiled at me like Tom Cruise in top gun

you don't see how this is relevant?
a silly foreigner woman grieving over cashmere

the boy had never heard of HERMES,
beauty meant shit to him/ thieving was
normal behavior
unlike you he preferred private spaces
i might have been his idea of luxury,

let me teach you,

HERMES is a rocklike beacon in authentic French luxury
HERMES often has yearlong waitlists

are you feeling confused now?
too much mind Western mindtension, fashion
individuality, adult commun ication

you want to steal this poem too?
after all you got away with HERMES;

his phallus penetrates from the known into the unknown world

do you keep him in a box, is he keeping
you nice & warm, or did you give him to
your mother. . .

so you sold him,?

nothing changes but everything changes
according to the HERMES fall ad campaign

we both know, they got it backwards

menstrual blood is odorless inside
the body and develops an odor
only after it is exposed to air

don't fall in love with me again