I dream of bees when I drip honey
onto challah and apple slices. Season of harvest
moon, new school year. Time of reckoning:
Has enough grain has been stored for winter?
Later is a moment poised like a diver
over a pitch-black abyss. I wonder how we bear
all this repetition. A perennial forecast of repeats:
jack–o-lanterns, latkes, dyed eggs, mammograms.
I bake honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.
When darkness saturates winter I think about suicide.
I always do, and I know that I always do, and so I know
it will slowly ebb and I will outwit it. Again.
I fast on Yom Kippur, but forget to pray.
Drunk, I confess sins I did not commit.
I place a stethoscope on every heart,
grant clemency to every penitent.
I will retire in seedtime. At Pesach.
Will I be like one of those men who retire
and find themselves at a loss for meaning?
Who fail quickly, die shortly?
I’m searching for the layer of sticky sweetness
that is so hard to find. Not this honeycomb
ensconced in a wrecking ball, these seismic shifts,
this loss of habitat. The disappearance of bees.
Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state where she works as a nurse practitioner. She is a co-founder and editor at Headmistress Press, publisher of LBT poetry. She has published six collections of poetry, most recently slight faith (MoonPath Press, 2018).