Rachel Hadas

Rose-Scented Lotion | Blue
August 23, 2016 Hadas Rachel

Rose-Scented Lotion


The level of rose-scented lotion daily

lower in its bottle. And because


we are not attempting to fill it,

time slows to a standstill.


The room brims with silence.

Afternoon nap? Not yet afternoon.


Sun neither out nor in.

March takes a breath.


No chasing now, no fleeing.

What were we after? I


forget and then remember.

Remember and forget


what was after us.

However still you stand, it blunders past


Only for so long before it finds you.

However fast you run,


you can outrun it only for so long.

This afternoon (now truly afternoon)


it too has paused for breath.

No mad pursuit, no struggle to escape.


The bottle of rose-scented lotion

is neither full nor empty.







When my son was two,

taken to the country the first time

and held up to admire the rural view,

what did he see? He told us:

too much blue.

“I don’t like those blue mountains,” he said.

Looking at the powder-corpsy blue

walls of my Athenian apartment,

“Blue is a thirsty color,” the poet decreed.

He and the two year-old would have agreed.

That toddler now is thirty-one. And I

lived in Athens forty years ago.

Twenty years ago the poet died.

In life he gave the child a big blue bead,

cloudy beach glass. Though that bead got lost,

as keepsakes do,

our three minds met and still can meet

in blue.

Rachel Hadas is the author of many books of poetry, essays, and translations, mostly recently poetry collection “Ghost Guest” (2023) and her translation of  Book 16 of Nonnus’s “Tales of Dionysus”, a rollicking epic from the diaspora of late antiquity (2022).  She recently retired from Rutgers University-Newark, where for many years she was Board of Governors Professor of English.