Nothing but Nostrils

by DJ Savarese


Simple science fair
My eyes

in the trees, my nose in the pond,
which they call a
Ready or rot, the farmer’s rake
Dairy cow

in the soil

Who needs autism?
The earth, the earth would say
if earth
could speak, if earth could birth
its hay-


saying no
Teacher tells us
the pond is clean
the farmer’s weaned


from chemical booby
My nose
knows better
Schnoz whiffer


proboscis extraordinaire
In autism
the sense of smell
I’m nothing but nostrils


flared beyond flaring
(Gogol would love me)
pond samples
evidence, at least to me,


of unvirgin h2o
I smelled manure and at least
three other woes
The cows
knew it, the fish knew it


Teacher said I was wrong
“Let’s analyze the water
You’re questioning,
after all,
the farmer’s daughter”


But I was right
The senses, too, have reason
the body, its season
When will mind be a kite
and nose the string?


DJ SAVARESE has written a chapbook entitled A Doorknob for the Eye. Other poems and prose have appeared in literary journals, such as The Iowa Review, Seneca Review, Prospect, Stone Canoe, and Nine Mile Magazine. “Passive Plants,” a lyric essay published in The Iowa Review, was named a notable essay in the 2018 Best American Essays. The co-producer of the Peabody award-winning, Emmy-nominated documentary film Deej: Inclusion shouldn’t be a lottery, he currently works full-time as an Open Society Foundations/Human Rights Initiative Youth Fellow, working to make literacy-based education, communication, and inclusive lives a reality for all nonspeaking people through artful advocacy, teaching, and community organizing. Before moving to Iowa City, he graduated from Oberlin College in May 2017 with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing.