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Red Shoes


I’ve come to tell you bees, your God is dead—
no check or rein to stop you now.
A carnival, a glut awaits us all.

No hands
to empty the dripping combs
and set you to regathering.

No smoke
to calm the moiling nerves
and still the nuptial flights,

to split
and make two hives where there was one.

I should be dancing this,
feet and hips waggling
as I make a wide circle with my arms.
I peer into the future with my right hand over my eyes.

You might rejoice—
to you more heat is better.

But everything races faster and faster,
you work harder, wearier,

as if the pollen
gathered in bundles on your legs
were red shoes,
and though you try
you cannot stop dancing.


Roberta Feins’ poems have appeared in Antioch Review and The Gettysburg Review, among others. Her second chapbook Herald won the 2016 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest, and was published by Autumn House Press in 2017.

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