poem: The Joy of Sweat

by Amy Martin


Us two-legged mammals, along with horses and bears,

all have bodies covered with hair.

To cool we have sweat glands called eccrine,

pumps in our skin that dispense salty brine.

But with each follicle is an oil gland: apocrine.

Alas, I am way too familiar with mine.

For when under stress

these glands compress,

oily sweat to the skin,

where it mixes in,

with sebum and stuff,

skin bacteria has for lunch.

So excited are they,

by the snack coming their way.

To them it’s hip,

like a potato chip,

deep-fried crunchy feast,

for starved micro-beasts.

For the moral of this story, have no doubt:

what goes in to bacteria, must come out.

So verily I say this elemental truth:

the smell of sweat is bacterial poop.