by William Aarnes
He feared he was becoming ill
when, reading the news of the crime,
he could not only see the words
and, when he wanted his wife
to hear, say them aloud but could also
smell them— the gunpowdery musk
in separatists, that hint of antiseptic
in airliner, the electric whiff
in wreckage. Grief and disbelief
and relief not only rhymed
but also shared the faint aroma
of rot in the refrigerator,
even the ands gone vinegary.
And after he stopped reading,
he could not escape the odors,
the off-putting essence of altitude,
the lingering perfume of doomed,
the metallic bouquet of evidence.
William Aarnes lives in South Carolina. His work has appeared recently in Field, Heron Tree, and South 85.