Moribund

There’s a scent to the dying and the doomed
not some mortuary smell of embalming or
the hospital odour of bright white sterility
but as if the not yet deceased seek to
discharge malodorous spirits in the air
under the blessing of a medieval priest
Bloodletting was all the rage in those days
and it’s still a human pastime and sport
metaphorical or intimate
There’s a scent to the dying that lingers
be it the violence of cancer or of cruellest assault
it bypasses the nose and sticks deep in the throat
assailing the stomach like some archaic poison
It’s not that dying is contagious, although it might be
and it can never be caught from these vapours
but it adheres and remains long past that expiration day
There’s a scent to the departing, a permeating
persistent miasma, cloying and clinging
to the essence of our age

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