Bees in Thin Hours

by Nanette Rayman River
The Critical Poet
Honorable Mention, February 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit


The ache will find me near white flowers, yes, white and magenta in the projects

I find bees gunning down the humble Silent Ladies Tresses displaced here among

a thousand brides in water, seven thousand in cement – kneeling beside me.

We lie like an argument against the pavement, listen to the bees’ decrescendo,

how they bear witness against a life soured, doors firmly closed to any light

I could turn to. How it evaporates quickly in this oven of shadows, news to broadcast

that won’t be heard. Who to cry to and how to cry? The blackflies are biting

your soft under-bicep, honey, and the clouds are singing. Our vast deaf ears

lay ringing beside dead brides. These are thin hours when bees buzz in the outskirts

of lives never meant to happen– like this. A sudden hush catches us off guard,

makes mephitic fervor of the night, without whiff of why. We curl useless legs around

poor sky. Our last magenta inhalation. There are no words.



  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
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      Third Place

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      by Jim Fowler
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  • November 2020 Winners

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      Second Place

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      The Waters

      Third Place

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      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block