Scents of the City

The smells of New York
the City
they’re all so distinctively New Yorkers,
assertively confronting your nose
making sure you hear them say
“Hey, I’m walkin’ here.”

There’s that gag reflex
enacted by the person
who forgot to shower this week
their b.o. blends with vodka too well.
Or the indiscernible garbage hangs
onto you, knowing its stewy mixture
smells oh so good.
The rest of the bodily secretions stain
the sidewalk, curling your nose hairs.

But then the coffee grounds
warm your soul.
Garlic pulls at your appetite
begging you to take that step
into the pizza shop.
And then there’s the bagels
the warm doughy waft
curling around your face
temptingly offering a slop
of cream cheese.

You can’t miss it. Ignore it.
If you smell one, you smell them all.
You can’t close off that sense or
eliminate all feeling.
The stomach churning
and the heart melting
can’t be separated
in the City
that always smells.

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