Meryl Natchez

Ode to Flatulence

Even the word fart is funny, plosive, puffed from the tongue.

Children adore them in any form, especially when gas bubbles up in the tub, 
         ebullient, visible.

And fart jokes and frat boys a perfect concordance.

For new lovers, to fart in bed the shyest first risk of exposure.

The perfectly private pleasure, almost sexual, when a large, ripe one rumbles down 
        the anal canal, released from the radiating folds of the small, slit-like aperture, 
        to sing out its relief.

Or the opposite thrill, legs splayed in the packed yoga class or butt bared on 
        massage table, the delight of restraint, spiced with a sort of dread, soldiers 
        tense at the gates.

At work in your cube, you hope your coworkers might somehow believe it was 
        somebody else, as the stink lingers in a foul cloud like a thought balloon, its 
        little bubble stem pointed directly at you.

Yes, the fart is the ultimate joke, fetid as whale breath, no pretense possible as it 
spouts from the hole we don’t mention.

How the ability not to 

lets everyone know you are versed in the ways of your tribe, 

no longer a baby, out of control and beloved, 

or a toddler, taking the first steps toward shame.

When you can hold your fart, you are a person, too,

however small, however new to the trade, 

someone who does what people do,

someone who knows how to wait.

Someone whose butt’s on straight.