Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse

Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem every Thursday.




The bloodhound across the street is at his balcony again, like a good boy waiting to greet his master. But his master and mistress have already turned off all their lights. Stars must fascinate this dog as much as smart phones fascinate my human neighbors. If he spends an hour sniffing a star, he’s sniffing over a thousand stars per year. The sky’s an opium field of stars. Two white poppies here, three gold ones there. He’s sniffed over twenty-five thousand poppies—a lot but just a tiny percentage of the heavenly scents in our patch of sky. But still! I’m in my bedroom with a stuffy nose. The big round poppy is ashen while the regular-size poppies are drifting across my panes like an endless flock of blowballs—and I smell nothing. My sleepyhead chihuahua is grinding her teeth. The bloodhound is (finally!) re-angling his nose. So many stars, a perfumery of poppies. Can he smell what kind of life is on each star? What’s it like to be a star, to have my color and scent be the only traits bloodhounds can know of me? Don’t get me wrong: it must be lonely to be a star. I don’t want to be a star. Of course I want to be a star. Or a poppy at least. Time, space, sight, and smell. The edge is spreading out to the edge of the universe. I have a smell therefore I am. If only I could be golden, excrete floral scents instead of body odor. How hard it is to not sweat, not stink, not fart. How hard it is to smell good and not care if anyone can smell me. If extraterrestrials were bloodhounds too, buffalo chip Earth would go to the dogs.


Kenton K. Yee’s recent poems appear (or will soon) in Plume Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Kenyon Review, Threepenny Review, RHINO, Constellations, Scientific American, and Rattle, among others. An M.I.T. and CalArts alumnus, Kenton writes from Northern California.

Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.

— Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx

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