before she began, she placed the glass jar between us—
filled with fresh, golden honey—and a sizable spoon.
homemade. an amateur apiarist, she kept a ready supply.
as she began, I remembered how my mother mixed
honey with lemon, a pinch of salt. a folk remedy
for sore throats, the beginnings of a cold.
when she was through, I asked why. she thought
I meant the amber on the table, not the gaslighting
she called brutal honesty. she said it was to help me
swallow my feelings.
an open letter to the one who should have got away
as the scorpion thrashed her pincers
and drowned—the frog survived,
flopped ashore, croaked himself
back to life. a week, a month later,
along the same muddy shore,
another barb-tailed arachnid
implored him for safe passage
across the stream. a ride
atop his slick, perforated back.
it’s not that he doesn’t remember.
it’s just his nature. he never learns.
Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is the author of the poetry chapbooks Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag) and Dust & Ashes (Californios Press). His full-length collection, the Colored page, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. The editor-in-chief of The Weight Journal, MEH’s recent poetry is appearing or forthcoming in Massachusetts Review, New York Quarterly, Ploughshares, Poetry East, and Shenandoah. MEH’s an educator who received his MFA yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education. You can find him at www.MEHPoeting.com writing about education, race, religion, and burning oppressive systems to the ground.