Claudia Serea

Spotlight: I Remember the Smells


I remember the smell
of rusty handlebars,
of rotten onions,
garlic meatballs,
stale fried fish,
and clogged toilets.

The local train smelled of skin
of man and animal,
of cheap tobacco
and unwashed clothes,

the smell of poverty
and cold.

The peasants carried raffia sacks
stuffed with bread,
food for chickens, and pigs.

Snow blew through the broken windows
and piled in the hallway.

The car doors opened
and slammed
at every turn.

The conductor checked the tickets
with a flashlight.

Next stop,

Claudia SereaClaudia Serea’s poems and translations have appeared in Field, New Letters, 5 a.m., Meridian, Word Riot, Apple Valley Review, among others. She is the author of Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada, 2012), A Dirt Road Hangs From the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada, 2013), To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervena Barva Press, 2015) and Nothing Important Happened Today (Broadstone Books, 2016). Serea co-hosts The Williams Readings poetry series in Rutherford, NJ, and she is a founding editor of National Translation Month.