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It took very little—the scent of oregano and rosemary settling into a stew or the whisper of lilac at dusk—to recall his once-cherished solitude, his life before the crash, when he could take odors and borders for granted, when all he knew of love and loss was tangled in horse reins and paperbacks. Now, his kitchen smelled of her—her cumin, cardamom, and sweat, mixing with the fresh-caught fish from boats not far from the wreckage that delivered her to him, and blending into a brew that woke his body and calmed his mind with its promises unspoken.

 

 

 

Author’s Note: In ancient Egyptian mythology, Aken was the patron and custodian of the boat named “Meseket” that carried the souls of the dead into the underworld.

 

 

 

Heather Bourbeau wrote the poetry collection Daily Palm Castings, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and won the Pisk! Poetry Slam. Her journalism has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times and Foreign Affairs. She appreciates brevity. heatherbourbeau.com.

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