My Nose

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The nose was the same one I was born with
The same one that I neglected and took for granted
My nose was a mushroom head
Guillotined at the stipe, chopped in half and given
Two flute holes to breathe through

And he wasn’t like buttons or truffles
Neither Gomphus or Rickenella were close
It was more like shitake, brown-complexioned
And radiating from the stipe apex
He is my nose that gives me character
My first point of contact to barely-visible glass doors
And my first line of defense against air-borne viruses

My nose is so uncharacteristic of me
He is hopeless with after-shaves
And colognes I splash or spray on, after all I smell
Like my own musty mold and my snot are colored gooey bits
And just like ear-wax, scab or flakes of dandruff
I make pastimes out of them

And one day when I have pneumonia in my lungs
I will breathe in slowly, knowing that my nose will die first
Before the rest of the body
And only then will I realize that my nose was my vitality
The livewire inhaling and exhaling
Keeping me alive and the messenger boy of lust
Turning my wife’s perfume to sweaty musk

And as my eyes slowly start to close, in my very last minutes of life
He will be the only body part I can see
As I gaze at that fruiting body below my eyes
To realize it was I who was the parasite, the fungus
That lived through him
And when I slowly look up at my son standing next to me
I will know that my nose will go on

It seems my spores had landed on the dead center of my son’s face.

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Published by

meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist, who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. Dilantha wrote his first poem at the ripe age of 32 and now has more than 1700 poems on his blog. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, Kitaab, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry and Ravens Perch, among others. He was also awarded the prize for "The emerging writer of the year - 2016" in the Godage National Literary Awards, Sri Lanka for his first collection of poems (Kite Dreams – A Sarasavi Publication), while being shortlisted for the poetry prize. Dilantha is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and Australia, and shares his experiences from two different cultures. He blogs at - https://meandererworld. wordpress.com/

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