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Smell and Envy

You nature poets think you've got it, hostaged
somewhere in Vermont or Oregon,
so it blooms and withers only for you,
so all you have to do is name it: primrose
- and now you're writing poetry, and now
you ship it off to us, to smell and envy.

But we are made of newspaper and smoke
and we dunk your roses in vats of blue.
Birds don't call, our pigeons play it close
to the vest. When the moon is full
we hear it in the sirens. The Pleiades
you could probably buy downtown. Gravity
is the receiver on the hook. Mortality
we smell on certain people as they pass.

—Douglas Goetsch

from Nobody's Hell, 1999
Hanging Loose Press, Brooklyn, NY

Copyright 1999 by Douglas Goetsch.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Hanging Loose Press from Nobody's Hell. Copyright 1999 by Douglas Goetsch. For further permissions information, contact Douglas Goetsch, 1 Jane Street, #5F, New York, NY 10014, 212-924-6315, [email protected].

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Douglas Goetsch (1963- ) is the author of three poetry collections, including Nameless Boy (Orchises Press, 2015). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The American Scholar, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize and numerous other journals and anthologies.

Learn more about Douglas Goetsch.