Comingling Fragrances in a Summer Backyard

The savory bouquet of summer flowers—
roses, honeysuckle, wisteria, jasmine—
perfumes the afternoon air
and comingles and merges with
sundry other fragrances
also permeating the air:
the aerosol can room freshener scent
of a pesticide recently sprayed,
poison that smells like perfume;
the fetor of decaying matter
that exudes from the compost heap,
nutriments stinkier than poison;
the fragrance of freshly mowed grass
and the acrid smell of glyphosate,
with which dandelions were recently doused;
the appetizing, mouth-watering aromas of
burgers, weenies, sauce smeared drumsticks
sizzling on a charcoal grill;
the pungent smell of the open fire
and glowing charcoal briquettes;
the lingering odor of lighter fluid;
the alluring aroma of perking coffee;
the catty scent of beer gone flat;
the reek of tobacco smoke and vapors.
Such is the menagerie of fragrances–
some sweet-scented, others fetid—
comingling in a summer backyard.
Sorting them out, one from another,
the redolent from the miasmic,
is a task of Sisyphean proportions
when they intermingle and meld
and the salubrious is stenchy
and poison smells like gardenias.

Floyd D. Anderson lives in Brockport, New York, and can be reached at Read other articles by Floyd D..