Cleansing Flights


The temporary unfurling of the rhododendron
blocks one corner of the bay window, stealing
the precious tepid sunlight. Last week’s snow
is finally puddling into the drive. Out back,
the bees are taking cleansing flights, speckling
the snow in jellybean orange and yellow. I watch
them bringing out their winter dead: the short
drop from the hive, the determined, unsentimental
drag across the white. There must be a hundred
bodies, legs curled against each thorax, wings
tucked flat or splayed sharp, all settling into
the melt, each husk into a tiny divot. If I could
leave my own as easily, go back for the next
and drag it out, and the next, the next. If I
could only leave them to the snow, let them
finally sink into the hopeful, softening ground.

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Antiphon, The Bellingham Review, The Louisville Review, and Nonbinary Review. Her chapbook Dear Turquoise is available from Dancing Girl Press. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.