The early-morning air is already thick with the smell of heat. Sunlit rooms in a palace of leaves. The oriole’s glossy song.



    There are smells, and there are scents. Which is it?
    When the smell of heat thickens in the morning,
    that would be your scent of toil, the smell of work.

    That will not be smelled in Joplin when it wakes up
    to the potpourri of cracked open trunks, blown off
    branches, debris dust, wafted septic tank odours.

    There will be the scent of fear that crumpled houses
    have crumpled bodies that could no longer smell
    this scent of anger cloyed into helpless disbelief.

    How does fury smell when it descends on the fearful?
    The funnels that have twisted flaccid limbs into braids
    of half-extended embraces, empty arms flailing in air,

    did they bring with them the redolence of apocalyptic
    stench, or the stygian miasma of inexorable defilement
    promised on the Day of Rapture, now a ruptured tale?

    What scent do we assign the sweat and drivel dripping
    from the agape and limp body of a mother’s barricade
    to shelter her suckling infant, alive and puling at sunrise.

    Will the smell of a sunlit palace of leaves at a greenhouse
    that was spared provoke the promise of a better day?
    The oriole’s song, is that the dread left by the scent of death?

    Talk to me, Stick. I cannot understand the smell of knowing.

    —Albert B. Casuga

Comments are closed.