bumblebee

A bumblebee flew into my hair

And you were surprised that I was not scared

Because you have seen me when wasps

Buzz and bluster around

Know how I tremble into a statue:

Don’t hurt me don’t hurt me don’t hurt me –

You said, Why aren’t you afraid?

 

Because, I thought, the same stripes

Don’t make two beasts siblings

And wasps will sting for no better reason

Than to feel you shudder as they pierce

You, spurt their acid into soft flesh;

I feel they triumph in seeing me cry.

But bees can’t break my skin without losing

A part of themselves, cannot take from me

Without the tenderest part of them dropping

Right out, leaving them unwhole.

 

I do not wish to hate

A creature

That is just trying to

Survive.

 

ungive

If you think that you will beat me down like dough to be kneaded or earth to be tamped, then I have a whole world of contradictions locked into this head of mine. I am more than what I was, more than what I regret, more than what was made of me and more than what I failed to make of the glittering vestibules thrown at my feet. I am fire and water, earth and air, scars and stories and I swear with all of the marrow in my bones that I will keep on living and oh, I will set this nebula on fire. The world began with the destruction of a star, so let mine begin with it, with the implosion of light and loss that your absence in the world has gifted me with, darling. Ungive: in a faded language, this means to thaw. I will ungive myself, day by day and night by night, until these memories lay claim to me no more and I can mourn for you as a whole and walk this path not as a ghost or a wraith or a banshee but as a being whose footprints will mark this earth like stamps. Don’t cry for the loss of stars, because the universe is made up of them and without loss there would not be growth. Without change there would not be movement and without movement there would be no summer, no winter, no day or night, no sunlight, no starshine, and it is true that none of these things exist in your absence, but that will change and I know that you would wish that. Movement. That’s all we can do really, isn’t it? Just keep on moving until we stop.

maypole, part i.

i.

 

When I was green

and you were six

we danced the maypole at the church

down the lane

and you would be

my last straw

though I didn’t know

it then

 

we built fairy houses from catkins

in the playground

where the trees met the tar

 ran around screeching

at the sky

because we could

and because

to rage is better than

to cry

 

swimming lessons

sharp smell of chlorine

nose and eyes

you threw water at me

so

I scooped up blue from the pool

in my swimming hat

to fling at you

I got in trouble

I didn’t care

 

We were friends

I think.

Am I misremembering?

Conjuring comrades

from the empty air?

 

(I did that later

I don’t deny

I was so lonely

I wished to

die)

 

later on

I could neither scream

or cry

even though I

b u r n e d

all through my threads

the sewn together strands of what

I was

 

a child on the tarmac

beneath

the swallowing sky

I didn’t know then

that catkins don’t hold

fairy dust

that water is not

blue as bells

that you would

hurt me

more

than

them

 

(you were a friend

you were my friend)

 

I did not know

the rules

back then

the flanks they flay

the wounds they rend

the names they chant

(at girls

who cry)

at boys

who dance.

 

(round maypoles)