—after Bill Abernethy’s translation of the Old English charm
Repeat, repeat, repeat:
Lord Christ, where is our bee?
She who stole the sugar bowl, sucked
lingeringly from the pink rose every spring, licked
the sticky bottom of the brandy snifter clean?
You shall not escape me, nor ever be free of me.
The way our words linger now forever in the ether.
Just try to snatch back a single
one of your own little secrets.
Once, I tried, and my
fingers glittered for a minute against the computer screen.
Then, nothing, permanently.
Return, return, return to me.
Even a can of frosting from the pantry.
Even the Sweet ’N Low packets beneath the sink.
Surely, she who was its source could not also be its thief.
So, where can she be hiding now that nothing
disappears, or goes unheard, unseen. For we
can listen to our enemies whispering on mountain peaks.
We can place a target on the heart of any
anarchist, imam, member of the Tea Party, and
even through the deep
privacy of the sea
we can send a wave of electricity
smooth as a memory:
and I myself have witnessed
a miracle as it was happening:
a child in the backseat
of a car in a parking lot behind a bar
waiting for his father in the middle of the night, while
the whole thing was being filmed
by a satellite from the sky
by what that child must have believed
to be a star.