"When You Can Get It" by Brendan Constantine
When You Can Get It
A woman went to the perfume counter and asked,
What scent says, I think it rained last night?
The clerk turned to her cabinet, put her hands on her hips, then
offered a small blue bottle. The woman put a drop
on her wrist. It smelled of jasmine and wood smoke.
There was also iron and something like mint, only
colder. No, she said, I mean I think it rained but I’m not
sure. The clerk consulted her bottles again, opened
a drawer by her feet. Finally, she went to a coat hung
on the back of a chair and dug in the pockets. She
withdrew something tiny and held it out. It was a gray
bird, wet and alive. Its throat flashed purple and green
as it panted. This is the last of it, she said.
Brendan Constantine's work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly, and Poem-a-Day, among other journals. His most recent collection is Dementia, My Darling (Red Hen Press, 2016). He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and offers classes to hospitals, foster homes, veterans, and the elderly.
Photo Credit: Staff