By half and half and half and half again,
I can approach but never touch
forsythia in April as it drops
flower for leaf; or how “Scarlet Begonias”
harmonized, a soundtrack to my grief,
weeks after she died. If I describe the crack
in Garcia’s voice as a man breaking honeycomb
from a box of tranquilized bees, smudgy
embers in the smoker, can you hear it?
Between radiance and pitch, an element’s
half-life could be a millisecond or an era.
Kiss the sweet that drips from open cells—
apple, almond, peach-perfumed, whatever
blossoming orchard gorged the dozing hive—
half a moment, and I’ll be satisfied.
Joyce Peseroff’s fifth book of poems, Know Thyself (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), was named a “must-read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She was distinguished lecturer at University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she also directed the MFA program in its first four years. She blogs on writing and literature at joycepeseroff.com. (updated 4/2018)