First Place Comfort Contest Winner
By Samantha DeFlitch
Bees won’t leave their hives in winter except
to relieve themselves. Have you ever seen it?
The hive-boxes stacked & numbered, orange
green and red atop each other like generations.
Round them, in the spring-won’t-come snow:
gold dots. The visible reminder that inside
nestled hives: munching, snoozing, tight bees
tucked in. Sign of tomorrow-to-come! A wind-
roused bee crawls from this hive for a quick
midnight leak, eyes still screwed shut so the
lingering porchlight doesn’t get in, doesn’t
wake the dreams or the dog, thin & guarding.
What woman belongs to this dog? How far
back does the dog make dreams? Every May
the woman tucks a light-stringed birthday
cap under the dog’s chin. It is a good dog,
and this a good woman. See how tender-
ly she holds her own body, though it is a bad
body? See how the dog sighs. Here is every-
thing necessary, tucked between slush
and scrub. Even I can see the holy inside
the imperfect: slow bee and bent wire
fence, chicken coop open and midnight.
The sky is a blue ritual on the road home.
Samantha DeFlitch received her MFA from the University of New Hampshire, where she is the Associate Director of the Connors Writing Center. She is the author of Confluence (Broadstone Books, 2021). Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, Appalachian Review, On the Seawall, and Hobart, among others, and she is the 2018 recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial Award for Poetry. She lives in New Hampshire with her corgi dog, Moose.