KISSES

  
Body odor comes from the apocrine glands, which are small when weíre born and develop substantially during puberty; there are many of them scattered around our armpits, face, chest, genitals, and anus. Some researchers conclude that a large part of our joy in kissing is really a joy in smelling and caressing each otherís face, where oneís personal scent glows. Among far-flung tribes in a number of countries -- Borneo, on the Gambia River in West Africa, in Burma, in Siberia, in India -- the word for "kiss" means "smell"; a kiss is really a prolonged smelling of oneís beloved, relative or friend. Members of a tribe in New Guinea say good-bye by putting a hand in each otherís armpit, withdrawing it and stroking it over themselves, thus becoming coated with the friendís scent; other cultures sniff each other or rub noses in greeting.

-- Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses




 

 

 

 

 

It is marvelous to wake up together
At the same minute; marvelous to hear
The rain begin suddenly all over the roof,
To feel the air clear
As if electricity had passed through it
From a black mesh of fires in the sky.
All over the roof the rain hisses,
And below, the light falling of kisses.
An electrical storm is coming or moving away;
It is the prickling air that wakes us up.
If lightning struck the house now, it would run
From the four blue china balls on top
Down the roof and down the rods all around us,
And we imagine dreamily
How the whole house caught in a bird-cage of lightning
Would be quite delightful rather than frightening;

And from the same simplified point of view
Of night and lying flat on one's back
All things might change equally easily,
Since always to warn us there must be these black
Electrical wires dangling. Without surprise
The world might change to something quite different,
As the air changes or the lightning comes without our blinking,
Change as our kisses are changing without our thinking.

--Elisabeth Bishop