By LEE GULYAS
The chicken vendor’s stacked cages combine manure and death. Flatbread browning in the baker’s oven wafts smoke and flour. Metallic hints of thrown-out bean cans, misty exhaust of diesel trucks, heady tangs of eucalyptus trees. Even from inside our house the smell of fire is usual, from water pipes for smoking dried fruit and tobacco, whiffs of the neighbor’s incense, a sniff of matches and candles each time the electricity blacks out. Once we watched neighborhood kids chase after a rolling tire set afire, orbiting whirls of black and flame until the blaze consumed the tire, which wobbled in circles, then lay motionless on the ground. Children watched while acrid plumes of soot spread, lingering bitterness infusing the air.