Newly returned from the country,
while you sleep I will remove everything from your bags,
untangle strands of hay from your shoe-soles,
take up your clothes to wash.
Smells come to me, escaping from their wrinkles like birds to the air:
fire, grasses, cold earth.
For a few seconds I inhale grand spaces
and find myself in a starlit field, alone with silence and wind
I am drawn to the scene’s primitive familiarity,
even as I curl my nose
and nearly whinny,
as I imagine stable horses must do when they first encounter
the smells of the city
(fuel and heat, perfume and cigarettes, the inimitable aroma of metro trains).
I plunge your clothes into water, add vinegar and scented soap
killing those confounding country fumes.
Tomorrow when you wake,
there will be no hay blades in your shoes,
no fire-smoke in the wool of your socks.
You will put on your smart black suit,
and be a city man again, and go to work.