The table is laden with vials and dishes,
Mortars and pestles, bottles and crucibles.
Slowly the alchemist empties a flask
That’s filled with a liquid, yellow and thick,
And primes his distilling equipment. It’s time!
He kindles a burner; slowly it bubbles
And pungent aromas waft through the room.
A vile-smelling essence remains, and he gleefully
Scrapes it all free—this life-changing substance—
And seals it away with a tight-fitting cork.
Two thousand years hence, a new generation
Of bored teens in chemistry class will agree—
While snickering discretely—that only a teacher
Could get so excited about stink bombs.