That smell

it is recorded in a brain cell
that one particular scent
the bouquet of it stains
as wine on a linen dress
an ambrosia of memory
carrying its own fetidness
that stench awakens consciousness
a cloddish backhand of the past
one only need savor its tang
the rankness of remembrance
is not the perfume of passion
nor the musk of desire
no it is the foulness of battle
searing nostril burning smoke
the odor of fear of stale sweat of pain
the stink of the jungle
the rancidness of the rotting earth
all nature returning to dust
the sounds can be dismissed but
never the malodorous carcass of death
an unwanted smirch upon life
the vial is opened so easily
bacon cooking on the stove
the smell of a gun oil rag
acrid Fourth of July fireworks
a red fluid reeking of iron
road kill baking in the sun
the obscenity permeates the nose
that offending orifice of breath
then like a passing bullet
it is gone until some noisome finger
pulls that mentally stored trigger
to fire that one overpowering sense
wounded by the mind again

©2011, Donald Harbour

13 thoughts on “That smell

  1. A powerful whiff, the scents seem to circle around that. I’m glad you dug it out, Donald, because it’s very suited for the prompt indeed.


  2. Thanks Viv for your comments. My use of ‘waif’ is as a nautical term meaning to signal with a flag. I realize now that most readers would not know that use so I changed it to ‘awakens’.


  3. Plenty of strong imagery, as you will have intended. But, my favourite lines are not the images, they are the last five. What an important truth and conveyed by a clever metaphor.



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