Do I have an old man smell?
Every day, twice a day I check
but still, I just can’t tell
Maybe that’s a sign.
of smell has never been acute.
When I was young (see, there it is
again) I could pass a moldy pile
of sweaty clothes waiting to be
washed, or stand beside a pan
of sautéed garlic and onions
or –worse—sit behind the wino
on the downtown No.9 bus
with its fritzy air conditioner
in the sizzling middle of August
and never smell a thing.
almost half a century later (Oh my,
there it is again) I still can’t tell
if the slippers I have worn for
half a dozen barefoot years
are what causes the wallpaper’s
peel, or forces my beloved
into the refuge of her airy office,
or if these are merely signs
of time’s advance.
careful when I wash, and where,
but when I’m done I’m never
sure the scented soap has left its
clean and fresh and manly mark
on anything but the washcloth
and sink. I sometimes think
I should hire a critical nose
to come and sniff me like a rose
and tell me boldly, tell me well,
tell me what I need to know:
Do I have an old man’s smell?