The dream of a patient in Jungian analysis: a volcanic landscape by moonlight. Drawing by M.A.C.T., 1967. Credit: Wellcome Collection.


i’m dripping cherries onto the carpet & for a minute i’m jealous of my own knuckles & before i know it there’s mounds of stale cake flattening into floorboards & bees fill the room & i tell myself i’m at peace with this offering at least there’s cake & no one has to wait until i’m done crying to eat it & then the bees fill my mouth & my tongue fattens like it’s got someplace to be & there goes eating cake & how are these sacrificial insects supposed to store honey for the winter & won’t the hive miss them & won’t i miss them & when i open my mouth their wings are beautiful dressed with oils & blisters & my lips swell with the sliver of another dying thing & i begin to consider the instinct required to accept your undoing no matter how fatal this staying might be & where do i even get the gall to welcome the kind of violence that greeted greater men just once before they woke up as ghosts & when will i understand the zinnias as merely a peace offering from a less forgiving god & don’t they rely on the same ecosystem as the bees & don’t i rely on the same ecosystem as the bees & don’t i see the lesson here & how many men need to sigh boy, them wings ain’t meant to last before i fold up my prayers & tuck them in my cheek & when will i be emptied by what a night doesn’t promise instead of what it does & when will these wings unfurl however brief & prove that my shoulders are built for more than breaking falls & if all the cake is gone i said help yourselves at least there’s blooms of honey right here in my mouth & how many bees need to die

Anthony Thomas Lombardi

Anthony Thomas Lombardi is a Pushcart-nominated poet, organizer, and educator. He has previously served as Assistant Director for Polyphony Lit's Summer Scholars Program and currently runs Word is Bond, a monthly reading series that benefits bail funds across the country, in conjunction with The Adroit Journal, where he also serves as a poetry reader and contributor. His work has appeared or will soon in wildness, North American Review, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, THRUSH, Passages North, Poetry Northwest, Salt Hill Journal, Iron Horse Literary Review, Cherry Tree, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn with his cat, Dilla.