A Scent's Assent

He saunters, not a hint of awkwardness
About his movements, flowing sweet as fire.
Dolores, trying not to stare, selects
A protein bar, a heated argument
Among her schoolmates raising ruffled fur
And growls. The guy's a feline, after all.

The student body's
ninety-eight percent canine.
The whole school's aware.

He hears them, Casey does, their yips and all
Alive with bitter scents of awkwardness.
Remaining smooth, he doesn't look, the fur
Beneath his shirt on edge, a tickling fire
He knows. It follows matching arguments
From other schools his science course selects.

should be more universal.
"Should" is the key word.

In class, Dolores carefully selects
A seat in back of Casey, watching all
The rest digress, off-topic arguments
Concerning species, full of awkwardness.
The room of canines almost seems on fire
With ears and whiskers folded close to fur.

Students of science
should be— There's that "should" again.
Stupid subjunctive...

"Y'see?" The T.A. smirks. "You smell his fur."
He waves at Casey. "How the nose selects
The scents that calm and those that stoke the fire
Is instinct. Can't be helped." To Casey, all
The canines fairly stink of awkwardness.
Behind him, though: "What phony arguments!"

Silence rushes in,
a flood, sudden and bursting.
Eyes, ears, noses perk.

Dolores doesn't care for arguments,
But standing now, she scowls. "It's only fur!
We choose to act with joy or awkwardness!
Ignore the nose! The conscious mind selects
Responses! We're responsible! We all
Decide on spreading warmth or blasting fire!"

Scents of discomfort—
salty, spicy, soil and sour.
The class faces forward.

In Casey, blushes burn, but not with fire.
Instead, he almost welcomes arguments
To know support from one if not from all.
At class's end, he turns. Dalmatian fur
And shaky grin, she nods. "My nose selects
To say 'hello' despite the awkwardness."

The school continues
aggressively lethargic,
looks but doesn't see.

They share their names, and fire caresses fur.
At lunch, no arguments as each selects
Respect, embracing all its awkwardness.

It's not a romance,
they agree, but better yet:
honest, true friendship.


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