Pediatricians have a distinct smell,
as do Hollywood movie stars. People
that sell ice cream from trucks have a smell,
so do the clerks selling athletic shoes,
as does the young man serving coffee, and the
woman in the clothing store holding her
hair up in a bun. There is the smell
of a dentist and the smell of a priest.
Sometimes a person working in construction
will sit next to you on the subway and you
will be able to smell their smell. The train
conductor has a smell, as does the ticket puncher
on the Metro North Railroad. The cab driver
has a smell, and your boss has a smell. Cops
have a smell, as do firemen, and the guy in the deli.
Someone in the apartment next to yours has a smell.
The mailman has a smell that lingers after
he leaves the mailroom. The people in a warm
conference room all have smells, as does the woman
taking your ticket at The Brooklyn Academy of Music.
At the Poetry Project you are flooded with the smell
of poets. As you walk along the water's edge
in Brooklyn Bridge Park you can smell tourists
and the vague damp smell of tobacco and meat.
There are smells of the playground on Henry Street
and the smell of children coming from the strollers
in the lobby of your building. Your chair has a smell.
There is the smell of a scented trash bag held by your coworker.
There is the smell of a person jogging past you, the smell
of a lover's neck, the odor of a bird, the smell
of a puppy, the details of the smells of all things
barging in, weighing themselves against the days passing
from smell to smell into an oblivion of all smells.