Chana Bloch

Blood Honey

in memory of Amichai Kronfeld

Apprehended and held without trial,
our friend was sentenced: 
brain tumor, malignant.
Condemned each day   
to wake and remember. 

Overnight a wall sprang up around him  	 
leaving the rest of us

Death passed over us this time.
We're still at large. We're free				 
to get out of bed, start the coffee, 				 
open the blinds.  						  
The first of the human freedoms.  

If he’s guilty 
we must be guilty; we're all made of  			 
the same cup of dust—  	

It's a blessing, isn't it? To be able, 
days at a time, 
to forget what we are.


Today we have brunch at Chester's, 
poached egg on toast,
orange juice foaming in frosted glasses.

He remembers the summer he packed blood oranges,
stripped to the waist,
drinking the fresh-squeezed juice in the factory 
straight from the tap.
He cups his left hand under his chin
as if to a faucet, laughing. 

He is scooping sweetness from the belly of death 
—honey from the lion's carcass.				

What is it, this blood honey				 

A shadow is eating the sun.    
It can blind you				 
but he's looking right at it,		 
he won't turn away.	
Already his gaze is marked 			 
by such hard looking.			 		 
Day after day breaks
and gives him  
back to us 

Soon the husk of his knowing
won't know even that. 


A man lies alone in his body in a world   	
he can still desire.				 	 
Another slice of pie? he asks. 

As long as he's hungry
he's still one of us.		 
Oh Lord, not yet.

He drums out a jazz beat on the bedrail		 
with his one good hand
when the words stumble.				  
See? he says. I can trick the tumor. 	 

He can still taste and see.			 
The world is good.	  			 

He hauls himself up in bed, 				 
squinting his one good eye at the kingdom	 	  
through a keyhole  							
that keeps getting smaller 
and smaller. 			
It is good. It is very good.