…like the taste
    of honey on a sharpened razor blade.

                                           — John Wood

Cumulus, nimbus, cirrus, altostratus
          (words reversed, right side down)
emboss an invitation across blue light.
          A bee-loud meadow (with its hot

jasmine and tremble of breeze)
          beckons. Your new life
burgeoning to a vanishing point.
          Though you’re not the only one

thinking bitter-sweetly about change
          (how sugary syrup can turn).
Look: Cedar then timber, fire.
          Blossom, pollen, nectar, honey.

Meantime contrails revise
          your dearest lines into white
(a beekeeper leaving enough
          only for the survival of the hive).

Like a lover someday lying
          on a checkered blanket,
this new life kicks back,
          cracks open a longneck,

toasts the clouds, waiting.
          Sweetness isn’t a whisper
in your ear (or the moment after)
          but the naming of desire.

Allen Braden’s forthcoming book, A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood, was selected by Mary Oliver as a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award. He lives in Washington State.