Ode to Eau de Skunk Wafting through the Bedroom Window at 2 am

Dayna Patterson


where we swam
finless through nightmare when
hooked by olfactory sense
bitten and ripped ashore by
sudden fume its chemical
bioweapon of precisely mixed
sulfurs quick closure & two
matches couldn’t sweep the
mustardy cloud that clung to
throat mouthroof tongue & what if
instead of pillow-faced
return to the surge
-tide we’d answered warning
alarum with our own rich
reek what if pheromone
pressed into the sharp acridity the rank
ungodly-hour stench &
spooned night like a lost lover’s
crotch dank with sweat’s trick
sweet enough to lick hung bait
deep in the brief putridity of our
flesh funk woken hours these small
hours snatched & reeking






Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in AGNI, Passages North, and POETRY, among others. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry.