Back in Ukraine, Dido loved beekeeping.
Behind barbed wire at an internment camp,
his honey bought bread for Mother, Uncle
and Babtsia. Every crumb prized.
Each morsel gulped. Always aching for more.
Mother comes to me as I’m making honey cake,
measuring out sugar then whipping eggs.
Never mind that Mother left this earth
eighteen months earlier. I can sense her pleasure,
her presence — palpable as smoke.
I apologize aloud for running out of buckwheat
honey which we both know tastes best. Dark
as amber — flavored like musk and molasses.
But Mother doesn’t mind. In my empty kitchen,
I sense no disapproval.
Now that Mother’s with me, I grow bold
with my spices. Extra ginger and cinnamon.
Grated orange rind. Splash of rum.
Like Mother, I don’t hold back.
First boil honey. Then cool it.
But don’t get lax. Boiled too long,
honey loses its essence.
Great-Aunt whispers in my ear
after too much Crimean Muscat —
table laden with cheese, kovbasa, crepes,
thick slices of seven-layered honey cake —
one layer for each decade she’s lived.
Homemade cherry wine slips down my throat.
It’s been 47 years since Great-Aunt last
embraced Mother. This morning, in a Carpathian
hometown — a blue door opened. Tremor
of hands. Rush of feet. No words spoken.
Only the chirping of birds outside.
Only the caress of reunion inside.
About the author
Ksenia Rychtycka's poetry chapbook A Sky Full Of Wings (Finishing Line Press, 2021) was selected as a finalist in the 2020 New Women's Voices…Read the full bio
Issue 24 · Autumn 2021
Table of contents
- Two Poems by Nick Conrad
- Three Poems by Dinah Ryan
- Two Poems by Daisy Bassen
- Three Poems by Carl Boon
- Two Poems by Patricia Behrens
- Upon Entering the Unknown University
- Two Poems by Christine Potter
- Earthly Possessions
- The Overflowing Suitcase on a Bus Stop Bench
- Two Poems by Nathaniel Calhoun
- Blessing of the Animals
- Why Honey Matters
- Two Poems by Rimas Uzgiris
- Missing Buses
- The Trek
- Red Coat
- Watching a Late Autumn Thunderstorm
- Two Poems by Rick Mullin
- ON O’HARA’S BIRTHDAY
- I Travel Back in Time
- Postcard Prose
- Visual Poetry