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  • The smells fade last. All the millions of tiny particles I breathe in - the smoke of burning brush and garbage, of charcoal cooking fires, of stew. Sunbaked dirt roads. Stale and dusty blood stained clothes. Hardworking bodies. Dry bones. Ripe fruit. Each particle goes in, is absorbed, becomes a part. My cells merge with these otherworldly cells and in an instant, I am changed. I am added to. I am transformed.

    But then I go home. I don't feel the same, but I settle in. My new self figures out how to reconcile with the life my old self had. I remember when to sleep.

    The smells that wouldn't leave my palate fade, and I forget.

    And then: a trigger.
    The smoke of burning leaves allows that other smoke to re-materialize, and I am taken back -
    a bright and lucid instant, a portal not just to a memory, but to a vision
    of that place
    in this time
    a window into what could be
    if I was there now, again or still.
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