It’s National Poetry Month and a couple weeks ago I saw the following poetry prompt in Writer’s Digest:
Write a smell poem.
I’m not a snob, but the word “smell” seemed unrefined so I disregarded the prompt and forgot about it until today.
This morning, I boiled 18 eggs my kids will dye for Easter. When the eggs cooled off, I placed them gently into their carton. One of the eggs cracked so I removed it and placed it on the counter with the intention of dealing with it later.
I left the house for a few hours and when I got back home, I walked in the front door and was confronted by the smell of that hard boiled egg.
I was immediately reminded of Amy. She was a breakfast-eater I worked with at Coldwell Banker Burnett many years ago. Breakfast-eaters are people who eat breakfast. Weird, right?
Now I have nothing against people who need more than coffee in the morning, but I am not one of them. Maybe you are and if you are, I hope you eat your breakfast at home or at least in the break room and not in a goddamn shared office space.
Amy did not eat her breakfast at home. She ate it at her desk which was five feet from mine. Every morning she purchased her “breakfast” from the vending machine.
I am old enough to remember when vending machines sold candy bars and potato chips. Our vending machines sold dill pickles, ramen noodles, beef jerky and various “cappuccino” options. I was always astounded by the choices.
One month, the devil stocked the vending machine with hard boiled eggs. There were several wedged in their respective coils. I remember looking at them and thinking, “God, who would ever eat a hard boiled egg from a vending machine?”
Amy would. That’s who.
I can still remember the fear pulsing in my heart when I saw her clutching the packaged egg. I turned away but I still could hear her pulling the cellophane apart at the seams. There was no way to escape. The bag was unsealed and the scent of the sulfur wafted into my workspace. It permeated my clothes, my hair.
She liked it so much, she ate another one the next day. And another the day after that.
With no further ado, here is my smell poem. It’s a double dactyl.
Higgledy piggledy neighbor in cubicle ate boiled eggs that would make me turn green She ate one each morning sanctimoniously til someone unplugged the vending machine
Thanks for reading my blog. Hope it wasn’t a rotten egg. -Connie
P.S. Fern ate the egg.