l’homme sans odeur

A Prose Poem by d w Stojek

We sat, my Grandmother, myself, with my Mother between, quietly in the waiting room of the doctor’s practice.  I cannot remember, despite my best attempts, as to which of us was the patient to be. I was four perhaps, five years of age and suffered frequent bouts of a savaging tonsilitis: stifling my voice, running my throat with that unique crimson of infection reminiscent of a depiction of a martian landscape in an illustrated beginner’s guide to astronomy. My mother, meanwhile, endured a rather playful strain of ebola, while my grandmother absorbed the impact and consequence of a day’s hiccoughs and a variable astigmatism. That said, I believe it safe to hazard that I was the subject of the visit…

The windows close-curtained, affording some peace to the infirm, who only sour in the sun; the institutionally pragmatic slate grey furniture and carpet, coupled with strips of walnut veneer lining the walls devoured the amber nebula of the corner table lamp; the room arrested in Shadow…

Despite which, I was sifting through the collection of boarded books and periodicals to read in that ill light. Issues of” International Topographic” were stratified in undisturbed archeological anticipation; a book of rhyme, and “A Beginner’s Book of Astronomy“ cluttered the low table. Choosing something, I remember words made of letters printed at the size of dimes, elegantly lain across the glossy pages but no memory as to the meaning or to the relation they had to the octopus, brilliant, in his top hat and dancing shoes as the hippopotamus, on the opposing page, searched the beach for clues.

The door opened, coming with it: the stunning sun; adapting, one saw the race of red and orange leaves tumbling on the walk was able to taste the crisp of autumn on the in-blown breeze as this crack was sealed behind the silhouetted figure entering. I looked quickly, seeing only an overcoat and hat positioning itself in conversation with the attending nurse, nothing could be heard. Rejected: I returned to my pages. The lamp having been moved closer to me by my Mother in order to stave or retard the inevitable blindness she was assured would strike; offering the Overcoat a pocket of that newly annexed dark. I glanced upwards, struggling to interpret suggestion and shade; my eyes not yet having adjusted, then retreating, so as not to be caught. The cycle repeating, my vision: straining, then acclimating till I could see his face…and what I could not comprehend; it was not horror or revulsion: it was all fluster and confusion. I was fixated: imagining, rather insisting, upon a nose to form upon his face, only for it to fade along the Prospect.

d w Stojek is a poet, photographer and general nuisance to those within earshot. He is eagerly awaiting the day when ‘Build-a-Bear’ re-opens as a series of genetic labs that will enliven the blighted strip malls of Suburbia.

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