The Smell of Mendou
Some nights you would lean across the table
and tell us stories of skunks that lived in trees.
(They knew no fear, you said,
but had grown tired of being roadkill.)
Their treeing had known more peripeties,
and the integer of their climb furrowed our brows
late into the night. In the afterglow of the tale,
in corners that seemed smoky to children
who had neglected eyes for ears,
we squatted together with conspiratorial half-smiles
and solemnly concluded the frivolous vow
to concretize our narrative solidarity by dyeing
long white streaks in our hair (black for the few of us
prematurely and juvenilely silver-maned).
A fierce clan of stink merchants; boys lost.