Parts per Trillion/Missed a Spot by Claudine Nash

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Parts per Trillion


After passing another morning

with you in mind,

it strikes me how I may only

be one whisker away

from the Daschund who

detects illness brewing

beneath his handler’s skin,

from the Lab who smells time

through the decline of her human’s

odors across the course

of the morning hours.

I confess how easily

I could be found sniffing

at staircases like this,

tracking the past in parts

per trillion.

As the postman approaches

with a certified receipt, I will be

sitting by the basement door

breathing in ornaments and

their decaying trace of pine,

inhaling phonebooks to snare

that lingering hint of fingertip.

The scent of last decade’s

ice storm will rise from old boots,

blackened bread pans and

phantom loaves will preoccupy

my nostrils.

When he rings the bell, I will

be wearing my beige bathrobe,

inspecting the vents for the

aroma of electricity,

certain that it is leaking

from your years-old heartbeat

archived in some long

forgotten space

somewhere under a piece of lace,

behind a lone molecule of air.

(Previously appeared in Star*Line)


Missed a Spot


Every now and then someone

points out a touch of ghost

stuck in your hair.

You thought you washed

it all out after therapy

when you rinsed off

that new product that

failed to contain your

unruly curls as promised,

but you must have

missed a spot.

You walked around

all day like that,


inexplicably turning left

to satisfy cravings for odd

combinations of food like

saffron and kale.

Now it suddenly makes sense

why you feel melancholy

in the imported tea aisle,

or why you can’t erase that sad

trace of pencil between the lines

of your notes.

You wonder how many have

seen it and realize that

you sat through an entire

staff meeting

with ghost hanging

below your ear like that.

Did you escape unnoticed or

were they too polite to point out

its cheerless whisper?

Or worse yet,

did they later query how

someone in your position

could possibly overlook

a shade for upwards

of eight hours?

You can let it

keep you up all night,

but at this point,

what choice do you really have

but to borrow a mirror,

wipe it away,

and tell your spectral passenger

to keep the quiet moaning

to a minimum until

the two of you can chat

in private.

Previously appeared in The Problem with Loving Ghosts (Finishing Line Press, 2014).


Claudine Nash’s previous collections include her full-length poetry
book Parts per Trillion (Aldrich Press, 2016) and her chapbook The
Problem with Loving Ghosts  (Finishing Line Press, 2014).  Her poems
have won prizes from Avalon Literary Review, Eye on Life Magazine,
Lady Chaos Press, and The Song Is… and have appeared in numerous
magazines and anthologies including Asimov’s Science Fiction,
Cloudbank, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and Yellow Chair Review
amongst others. She also has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Website:”


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