Nose Blind

Science tells us that we go nose blind

In as little as

Two breaths.

The dirty laundry, the cat’s box,

Disappear in the blink of an eye,

But so do your husband’s cologne and

Your baby’s fresh clean smell.

Pleasant or putrid, your nose makes

No distinction—

Until the scent is mixed with fear,

Then the nose knows,

Knows there is something there

Threatening your safety

And it warns you of impending danger.

Here’s the caveat no one mentions:

The fear need not be rational

To trigger the olfactories.

And so, throughout history

The marginalized, the demonized,

The Other

Have had aspersions cast on them of being

Dirty , unclean, smelly.

Jews, Blacks, gays, Hispanics,

The Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Japanese

And more, new groups added all the time,

Muslims, Middle Easterners

Koreans, Chinese


It is time for our world

To embrace the other and

Banish the fear,

Before the irrational fear of the Other

Triggers  a response

Which fractures all our senses.

It is time

To go nose blind.

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