The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Last night, I woke

Rachael Conlin Levy

I ran my fingers through the lavender that shimmered like low clouds and buzzed with honeybees and bumblebees. The flowers smelled heavenly to me and to the bees, which continued to collect nectar unperturbed by my hand as it reached deep into the bush to cut stalks. I shook off a clinging bee and stripped the flowers from their stems, then baked the buds in the sun. A handful was added to my seed pillow made from millet husks. Slippery seeds poured with a hush into the pillowcase and formed a dense, cool spot to rest my aching neck and shoulder as I breathed in the summery perfume and fell asleep.

Last night, as I was sleeping,

I dreamt — marvelous error! —

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart

and the golden bees

were making white combs

and sweet honey

from my old failures.

— Antonio Machado, 1875-1939

Translated by Robert Bly

Hours later, I woke.

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