What Geraniums Smell Like by Jeffrey Bean

Like birds.
Like my brother leaving for the lake.
Like the smudge of fireworks on driveways.
Like breath trapped in a canteen.
Like the word breath.
Like mice.
Like want.
Like a nickel in a fist.
Like my brother leaving for the store.
Like my brother leaving for the war.
Like a handful of washed hair.
Like my mom humming Johnny Cash.
Like a red towel in the wash.
Like a scrape on a thigh.
Like a Service Merchandise.
Like my dad’s violin.
Like a cloth that cleans guns.
Like car leather.
Like a war turned low on a radio.
Like parents getting used to you gone.
Like baby I love you.
Like you are the only one.
Like holes in the knees of jeans.
Like what you weren’t supposed to see.
Like drops of blood on a hardwood floor.
Like my brother leaving for the war.
Like ice in a glass.
Like beets.
Like leaving.
Like please.
Like bees.

  •  Previously appeared in Swink

Published in the September 2015 Issue

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