“And it’s stinking to high heaven.”
--Loudon Wainwright III
An hour later, it lingers, held
close by the damp air, its edge hard,
strike of red iron,
hammer and anvil.
Some odors are but flickers,
in open air a spark of flint.
Some cling together in clouds,
a storm front stirring up leaves
or a locale of fragrance.
They curl into our nostrils
and settle in luxury
at our ears or, pesky gnats,
hum faintly about our lips.
They strike deep between our eyes.
Odors tie together our lives,
make us dare to ask,
fear to tread, want to taste.
A rare scent, like this skunk’s,
grips our nostril hair and makes
us sit at out desk with pre-dawn
coffee laboring for the right figure,
the true turn of phrase to bake
our poems into madeleines of memory.