“Once Upon A Nightly Yoga Routine”

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Written by Marta Ashraf

Watercolor of Ilona Olkonen’s photograph by Alena Merenkova

“Once Upon A Nightly Yoga Routine”

Swanlike, tucking my legs under to finish my nightly yoga routine,
I felt more like an ungraceful duck.
knees apart, I bent down with a stretch to spread myself across the carpet,
and tried to maintain the flow of movements I’ve kept whole for the past ten minutes.

my nose pressed and prickled against the carpet’s fine condensed bristles,
I caught a scent that completely threw me off what i was doing.
I smelled something so tangible,
I could taste it.
I could feel its softness in my hands.
It tickled the back of my mind as I tried to shuffle my memory, hoping to recollect the register
of this smell so nagging, seemingly etched in my brain.

Mom.

No, but that can’t be right.

It is neither her scent nor any one of her registered perfumes.
Anyway, how the hell could it have gotten in my carpet?
Unlike me, she isn’t much of a sprawler on the floor.
Like somewhat in a kneel of prayer, fists at the sides of my head for support,
I broke the flow of my routine and kept sniffing at the carpet.

What was even stranger is that the smell
emanated from only one spot on the carpet,
that spot I promptly stuck my nose into
was the closest I’ve ever felt to her,
ironically enough, doing child’s pose.

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