Compost: I smell …

I smell a rat, a long lean rat with a rubbery tail, lurking in the corner of the woodpile in the garage. I smell the rat but I don’t see him, he’s well-hidden so smelling is the only way of knowing he’s there. I smell, but not nearly as well as my beagle, who can smell the fleas on the rat, and even what those fleas had for dinner (well, blood) and maybe even if the fleas are angry, sad, or jubilant. I smell that rat and it reminds me that I will die someday because the most powerful scent I ever smelled was a corpse of a rat who got into our house somehow and died in the basement during a hot summer the year I was 14.