The Stench

1.
In first light I see
the black cat waiting for me
below the kitchen window perch.

“Jump up, beautiful girl — you
can do it!” I urge her and she leaps
up light, lands heavy, settles in
to her treats and wet food. The calico
does the same for her bowl across the room;
they are, for the moment, content.

I allow myself a thin smile
before I start the coffee,
before the scent fills the kitchen,
before I look out the front windows,
before I take a breath of the Stench out there.

2.
It takes me a hard breath or two
before I relax into the care
it takes to stand myself upright
in the teeth of the Stench.

3.
Dare I turn on the television? Dare I
open my mail? Dare I think of how things
might be getting better or worse?
Dare I count the dead?
Dare I count the sneers and curses?

Dare I measure
the indifference of the alleged good majority?

Dare I call them out as the deep source
of this smell?

4.
It’s taken me far too long to call it
as I sense it: that it is not behavior seen
or anger heard nearly as much as it is
an odor that chokes me,
makes everything taste less healthy;
an odor so thick it coats my skin
and distorts my touch; a Stench
from a host of graves, blood soaked
so deep into the soil it stains every foundation
and leaks into the roots of every tree
and blade of grass.

4.
In spite of how I choke upon the Stench
the cats seem to ignore it, are purring and happy,
falling back to sleep in their favorite spots
before I pour my first cup of coffee. I suck it down
and here I am again, wondering if today is the day
that I will suffocate at last.

5.
One cat sneezes. I look up to see
the calico stretching and reforming to her tight space.
She wheezes a bit. Might be the Stench,
might be simpler than that.

I’m sure it’s simpler than that.

I need to believe there are those I love
unaffected by the Stench.

6.
My love, asleep still in the next room?
All I want is for her to live through this
and thrive again, breathe clean again.

7.
As for myself, all I ask
is that I may live long enough
to help to clear the air.




About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: