The Stench-

Written by REVSCRJ

Your eyes focus inward
to a point in front of your nose
as if to see it source there.
Your body recognizes it instinctually,
knows the face before the idea is brushed aside by logic.
Its a cloy that hangs in the air
faint with the smells of old dry flowers,
like decades of dust upon trillions of desiccated mites,
like fever sweat mixed with urine,
cotton candy in the distance
infection in the fore-
a sweetness that bypasses the face
and goes directly to the back of the head
where it hardens there with a chemical trace.

If you've been in a convalescent home you know it.

It puts a warmth in your head
that's a mockery of real heat,
a grim toothy smile at atrocity wide
and pleasured-
so cordial in its degenerative hideousness
that bile turns over in the guts
hoping to avoid the trace
that slip down the wrong pipe
and meet the meat therein.

If you've ever loved someone with a wasting disease you know it.

Its a lazy monster in a musty room
sidles in casually toward its victim,
and it side glances an olfactory leer your direction
as if to say
"Misery LOVES company..." or closer:


Its an old man with no teeth,
blackened eye-holes,
skin that sags like old newsprint
and dry leather- damp but unsweating.
should make it crumple into a baggy heap of thread,
wispy hairs and yellow stained gauze.
could rend it,

but doesn't.

Terribly fragile,


entirely unstoppable.
Slow. Very, very, slow.

When you smelled the formaldehyde stew of fetal biology unborns
it smiled your way,
do you remember?

It does.

Its the distended,
malnourished belly
that belches poison into the moth-balled stale air
of an old woman's museum home.

Its the wheezing laugh of a mouth
riddled with gum rot- only not so vital,
older, no
no disgust but fear...
fear seeps out of its pores like burnt chocolate and turned milk.
It is the pursed blue lips at the ear of a deathbed
wafting neglect into small ghastly clouds
and if you've ever soon after visited the house of a dead relative-

old one
who had time
to see
it coming,
time to feel it watch through the windows,
to know it sits beside the bed
when dark and silence rule-
you feel its presence and
how it likes to linger for
to savor the scene of its unwholesome workings,
as if reluctant to abandon its torture chamber.

"Thought y'd
it touches you, makes a tiny 'x'
in the back of your sinus'

just beneath the brain at the seat of the soul

and remembers.

<3REVSCRJ 4/98