Bruce Spang

"Blue" by Holly King
“Blue” by Holly King

The Smell of It

On streets where homes have gardens manicured,
driveways gated, and porticos vined, my two labs only
seem interested in the yellow fire hydrants and lamp posts.

I point out the gardens with blue hydrangea, the new BMW
parked nearby, its black shine, but they pay no attention.
They stick their noses in the grass and say to one another,

Do you believe it? He must be BIG and the musk–
smell here—uh-hu.” They sniff all around the hydrant
as if the dog, whoever it was, performed a circular pee,

hitting every corner, thinking, “This’ll get attention.”
No matter where I go, admiring the million-dollar
mansion sprawling, their five bathrooms and

vaulted ceilings, the dogs want nothing of it.
They peer up and say, “Take a whiff of this one.”
I’m almost tempted to get on my hands and knees,

pad along with them, nose out, trying to see as they
smell a world close to the ground where critters
leave their calling cards, post their instant messages,

tweet others that, “Hey, I was here.” I jerk the leash,
plead for them to “leave it,” “move it” yet
there’s a part of me that wants to lift my leg

on a foundation of one of those imposing facades
and say, “Hey, I was here,” and hope the owner
picks up his Wall Street Journal one morning and says,

Hey, honey, I think he was here again. You smell him?”
After a long inhalation, she says “Why yes. He seems
nice. Next time we should ask him in for cocktails.”

–Bruce Spang

Blue grass, N. Henry
Blue grass, N. Henry


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