Moon Honey

Jedediah Smith

IMAGE: Cherisse Alcantara

Jedidiah Smithis a former teacher of literature, mythology, and history at the City College of San Francisco. He has been published in Every Day Fiction, California Quarterly, and Chiron Review. His chapbook, The Gunslinger in Technicolor, was published in 2020. His website is jedediahsmith.net.

Everywhere, sooner than later, there will be a hint of honey

On the bread box to start, where insomnia takes me to feed my hunger for sleep 

On the jar made mosaic by fresh drips, still molten, and old drops petrified to amber crystals 

preserving memories of past nights 

On the table and on the counter and on the shambling muttering path between, which I must 

navigate by stubbed toes and muffled grunts

On the couch where hints of gold hide among swirls of upholstery pattern until weeks of 

adhered grime draw them to black

On the radio buttons I use to lose myself in soft music or the ramblings of fellow night walkers

On the bed I return to in optimism, my hairy legs speckled with droplets that smear the sheet and comforter to uncomfortable stickiness that makes me fidget and rouse

On the butter knife

the last one out of the suds of the dishpan 

On the dog’s head while he begs beneath the honey-holding hand that feeds

On the cat who is glad I’m up to love her more, when she rubs against me, because honey can hit

even a moving target and

Although honey mucks the floors and summons the ants and delights the flies and

Although I am under the punches of enough sleeping pills to hit the mat a few times, down but 

not out and

Although my sense of balance is dopey, dozy, and sluggish enough that I tip and tilt the slice of 

bread slathered with honey like a drunken waiter threatening a dozen laps with his 

overloaded platter of plates and

Although almost any late-night snack would be more reasonable and less Chaplinesque and

Although the sugar in the honey is most likely to make me twitch into further wakefulness, 

Reason can never compete with sweetness.

For even in daylight, my feelings are nearly reverential for honey, nature’s most perfect 

accomplishment 

For the bees gather secretions from plants and flowers, but also from insects, a secretion we call 

honeydew and Hebraic scribes called manna and described as a fine, flake-like thing 

For it is in fact plant sap tapped and siphoned with such hungry vigor by an aphid it spews out its

anus to be slurped up by bees 

For vomiting later into combs, to then be slurped up and vomited again, a nausea of recurrence 

(although even the circadian bees obey the call of sleep)

For a secret enzymatic alchemy to spin swill and sunlight into pure gold, an impossible smelting of treasure from dross 

For which we must do homage to the bug that brings sweetness to us

For humans’ best efforts at secretion is snot and while sleep is sweet, we wake to a world that is 

not, that cries out for honey, even if it is dripped and drizzled and mizzled on every 

armchair and couch and steering wheel and keyboard and spouse’s smartphone (forgive 

me, it was so sweet) 

For every surface made sticky will speak to us with a smacking sound when we lift our shoe or 

hand, will hold onto us, cling to us, as if for once the world loves us back just a little and 

sweetly

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