I wonder if war is something you can smell.
If all the citizens in all the worlds have always
been able to sniff it out, know its approach
like garbage on a summer morning
sniff it, like they sniffed out dissent
I wonder what it smells like.
I know it is not the tang of gunpowder and
gas, not yet. It is not yet
the smell of dishonorable men and
No, I imagine it more like the wafting of
unshowered bodies on the sidewalk, of moon blood
on women’s clothes, of hot ink on shredded newspapers,
of ketones in the urine of the hungry but
not yet starving.
Or perhaps it is like smog, like pollution
only palpable on the bad days, the days
that acid stings your eyeballs, the days
the posters go up, the days
you go back to the countryside and realize you can breathe again
realize that your senses are not dead,