Rental house

The house in Tempe smelled like an old man.
If we left for more than a few hours,
no matter how many showers, how much
cooking we’d done, it smelled rented.
The oil paints, thinner, shampoo and onions,
coffee, chlorine-imbued towels from the pool,
even the cat litter made no impact; the old
stale cigarette smoke, cologne and musty clothes
returned. No old men, as far as we knew,
had ever lived there. If I made a solo entrance,
I’d hold my breath on the brisk walk
past the sunken living room, wondering
what it would take to make it smell like home.

During our Arizona interlude, I enjoyed everything about our house and neighborhood in Tempe, except for the smell after a day away. Inspired by a GoDogGoCafe prompt.


  1. I’m actually amazed the cat litter didn’t over power it. Cat litter is the first thing to hit me when I’ve been away from home any length of time. And we have an air scrubber.

    Liked by 1 person

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