The assignment was: How do you smell?
I will shower with Dove. I will meld the remaining sliver from the last bar on the top of the new one. Some Arctic Breeze deodorant the lady picked out for me. It’s got an orange top and it’s not the gel stuff I like. It’s that hard white stuff that looks like powder later on, if you look, if you give a shit. But hey, it’s better than nothing. I will sweat as soon as I get out of the shower. Always foggy in the bathroom when I’m done because I turn the water hot enough to make me red. The smell of cut grass and gas from the lawnmower won’t leave me for days. Sometimes when I kill lots of ants I feel them on me as if their dying gasp is a hundred temporary psychic ant bites. It’s the same with the grass. A million felled blades have fired telepathic chlorophyl stabs at my brain. This particular pair of jeans never fades from green at the bottom of the legs, stained from the eternal yard holocaust. I get the baby for a bit. He smells sweet, he is milk and flesh. He hasn’t bathed in two days and smells the same even though he peed on me again this morning and surely got some on himself. While lying sideways on my chest, piss leaked out the back of his diaper and at my neck. I could only sigh. Feel it go from warm to cold against my chest.
It smells cold in the house. The giant Rheem outside has not stopped cranking cool. It intends to be victorious over the heat. My nostrils are flashed with the air conditioner. Makes me think of mornings and how my nose has to wake up with everything else. Mornings, I smell that bit of salt on me, the grease in my hair, ball sweat from the wakeup tug, that slight cheese from fingernails and the skin underneath.
The baby farts a man’s fart. Like an abandoned egg dish. It’s 12:07 pm. The cracked white leather chair I sit in when I’m sweating creaks hello with every adjustment of my body, soaks up my wet shirt and jean hips. She is doing something in the bathroom, so I have him for a little bit. I bring him close to my nose again because I don’t want to smell myself: funk, root dirt grown in layers as my arms twist my pit hairs back and forth, making a fire while I wrestle with the mower, drag the trash bin in the alley, throw another fucking palm frond over the fence where they go.
This is where I sit when I smell like a man.