The smell of toast reminds me of my father,

Not only because he was cremated.

He made it every morning,

In strips three to a slice of bread,

Golden soaked with butter as a happy death.

My mother was the smell of wet wool, flooring wax

Down a gruel-dim hall, nail polish remover and hairspray,

The Roman triumph of a Sunday roast on a tray,

And over them both, the maudlin miasma of tobacco.

It is said that oxygen is odourless

But surely only to our human noses

As we sniff our way from post to post,

Ashes to ashes, toast to toast.

Larry Buttrose

Larry Buttrose is the author of seventeen books, including two novels and four volumes of poetry. He is also artistic director of the Katoomba Theatre Company in the Blue Mountains.

More by Larry Buttrose ›

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