|"Mr. Farrow, Raising the Masts of his model of the 'tommy Campble a fine big Ship one of the best that I ever saild in out of Grimsby,'” 2015, by The Litus Gallery|
Chanel No. 5
Weird Ohio is littered with worldly names:
Mesopotamia, Macedonia, Lima,
London, Toledo, Geneva. This state
gets around, or Ohioans do. I think of Shanelle
who I worked with at the coffee shop
in college, collecting love like passport stamps.
I like her. She knows how to make every drink
on the menu. She knows the area.
I ask her, How far to Mantua? Shanelle cracks up.
No, say it like this: Manaway. My ex-fiancé
lives there. Holland, East Palestine, Lebanon,
Troy, Versailles. Ohioans palm a globe, spin it,
let it fall and bounce, and choose a name.
Here is how we take for our own what is foreign
that we might learn from it, might make
ourselves larger or more lush, a wedding ring
we slip on. Shanelle’s folks shared this fondness
for exotic trade. When I ask her the story
of her name, she tells me her parents
rushed the wedding when her mother
began to show, and on honeymoon
somewhere in Ohio, her dad heard an ad
for Chanel No. 5. Sounds French, he said,
a name for an explorer, opening like a sail.
[Image via The Litus Gallery]