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Aimee Norton, finalist in the first MMM Poetry Online & in print Contest


In the Name of Cleanliness


Mother skunks war

in a sea of egg salad

or it’s raining Agent Orange

at the local dump.

No—I am simply shopping for soap

on Aisle 9 at Lucky’s Grocery.

Dish washing detergent, both

automatic and hand,

passionfruit scented

toiletbowl freshener,

non-chlorine colorfast bleach,

anti-static fabric sheets,

vinegar free, aerosol pumped ...

Products made to stamp out stink

rape my senses

when all I want is an oatmeal scented,

off-white lump of low-suds lard.

The boxed and the bottled


into air so artificial

I can taste immune suppression.

That puts the Gamble aside Proctor.

My nose did not evolve

to withstand chemicals bottled for a profit.

My olfactory bulbs developed to

be enticed by the pheromones of my mate,

discern my baby from a gaggle of milky newborns,

smell smoke, and

avoid rotting meat.

In this sensorial sabotage,

I’m a homing pigeon tethered

to four norths

flapping furiously towards

a Pinesol scented nest. 


Aimee A. Norton is a professional astronomer researching solar magnetism. Her passions include poetry and science fiction. She has published research in The Astrophysical Journal, Solar Physics and Astronomy & Astrophysics. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals in both Australia and the U.S. including Byline, Paper Wasp and The Blue Marmot Review.