Mercury-Marvin Sunderland ~ Perfume

my mom gave me
per­fume
for my birth­day this year.

it came in late
and inside a bot­tle
five times small­er
than what we expect­ed.

it didn’t even have
a spray noz­zle.

sim­ply
one small stick of plas­tic
attached to the cap
so i would drop it on myself instead.

and my mom laughed
and i laughed
because it wasn’t real­ly
what we had in mind

it was
a smidgen
com­pared to
the hand­some bot­tles
lin­ing my mother’s dress­er.

1.

the only oth­er
per­fume that i own

is in a small con­tain­er
too.

it was gift­ed to me
in a big tie-dye bag
of lush prod­ucts
along­side
a big bag of jel­ly bel­lies
in the col­ors of the trans flag

and it wasn’t even my birth­day

because my friend fin
was just that gen­er­ous.

2.

i told my mom
that one of our cats
often smells like per­fume.

it’s because she likes to sit on mom’s dress­er
and paw at the mir­ror.

yulia sees
a cat in her reflec­tion.
and every day she attempts to res­cue her.

when she walks all over the dress­er
all the fra­grant smells
cling to her fur.

3.

i have not worn per­fume
in one (1) year.

i didn’t ask for the per­fume
specif­i­cal­ly to be worn.

i asked for per­fume
because i knew the strong scents
would help me stay ground­ed
instead of dis­as­so­ci­ate.

4.

the first time i was giv­en per­fume
it was a love­ly spring day.

i told fin they were so gen­er­ous
and in a big group of friends

we joked
we drew
we told sto­ries
we ate junk
we drank junk
we laughed

it was such
a won­der­ful day.

5.

one (1) morn­ing
one (1) year ago
i applied fin’s per­fume
their lush lotions, too.

this was the third time
in a two-year span
when i’ve had
to attend a friend’s funer­al.

6.

my mom gave me
per­fume
for my birth­day this year.

it came in late
and inside a bot­tle
five times small­er
than what we expect­ed.

it didn’t even have
a spray noz­zle.

sim­ply
one small stick of plas­tic
attached to the cap
so i would drop it on myself instead.

and my mom laughed
and i laughed
because it wasn’t real­ly
what we had in mind

it was
a smidgen
com­pared to
the hand­some bot­tles
lin­ing my mother’s dress­er.

~

Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a trans­gen­der autis­tic gay man from Seattle with Borderline Personality Disorder. He cur­rent­ly attends the Evergreen State College and works for Headline Poetry & Press. He’s been pub­lished by UC Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum Literary Journal, and The New School’s The Inquisitive Eater. He’s @Romangodmercury on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.