After “In Tall Grass” by Carl Sandburg
In the dead horse’s head, the bees are making honey.
The grass is long and harbors tics.
In Bethlehem, women stashed their babies
in caves, away from crazy King Herod,
who tried to kill their children, for fear
they might be gods. There’s been a recent reveal
that tics were engineered to carry Lyme,
an experiment in chemical weaponry. Soldiers searched
for the Bethlehem babies, carrying swords.
Did they kill by slicing the gut, the heart?
Did they cut the head, leaving it to bees?
Did bees make honey in the babies’ heads?
Were there flowers in the desert?
What did the wise men bring?
What was forgotten? The honeycomb,
the short lives of drones and babies
who might have been gods? The wails of mothers
whose babies were seized? The crazy king’s queen,
killed out of jealousy? The queen bee dying
after she finished making honey
in the horse’s head? What’s left?
The venomous bite of the tic,
the granddaughter, Salome:
her voracious appetite for heads
on platters, and the mad buzz of modern despots
who cage children crossing borders,
the dark jar of honey, the tics, Uzis,
schoolyard children beheaded by bullets.
Are there flowers in the desert?
What will the wise men bring?
D. DINA FRIEDMAN has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and published in many literary journals including Lilith, Negative Capability, The Sun, Common Ground Review, San Pedro River Review, Steam Ticket, New Plains Review, Blue Stem, Red Booth Review, Bloodroot, Anderbo, and Rhino. Dina is also the author of two award-winning young adult novels, Escaping Into the Night (Simon and Schuster) and Playing Dad’s Song (Farrar, Straus, Giroux) and one chapbook of poetry, Wolf in the Suitcase (Finishing Line Press). She has an MFA from Lesley University and teaches at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. To learn more about Dina, visit her website at http://www.ddinafriedman.com.