• 1

Honeybees

Christie Collins

How could I not have grieved?
When their bodies, poisoned into a deep
& enduring sleep, drifted like dusty snowflakes
from the attic above — down, down
onto the ruddy linoleum floor
in the restroom of my therapist’s office.

When the capsules of their still bodies
were stepped on, crunched,
swept up, disposed of —

When it took a maintenance crew
hours to undo their nests,
the impressive sheets of comb
that had been so carefully composed
from earth, paper, bits of human trash,
a home forged of communal tenacity, instinct.

When the wealth of their honey,
that golden sea of their life’s work,
was drained from the combs, willy-nilly,
into several black trash bags —

When such a bustling city as it must
have been fell & fell silent.

I expected nothing of the afternoon,
no poem to unfold, no narrative to break
from my back like inkblotted wings.
But after seeing the last of their hive
swept up into a rusted dust pan,
I felt the truth of their absence.
I felt the early blistering of an ache & an elegy.

As the afternoon backbends into night,
I hear the memory of the honeybees buzzing,
rebuilding outside my window.
But, it can’t be. It can’t be. Their catacomb,
unyielding, Their bodies, only traceable
as tiny, magnanimous words.

Issue 9, 2017, pp 14-15

Nos for the Proper Modern Southern Girl

Heather Steadham

donuts
Dr. Pepper
ice cream
bread
if it tastes good, spit it out,
my grandma said

miniskirts
eyeliner
Spandex
flats
you can’t catch a decent man
looking like that

glasses
bare face
naked nails
frowns
or do you want the boys to think
you’ll always turn them down?

tattoos
piercings
hair of pink
or blue
if God had meant for those to happen
he’d’ve made them born on you

skipping Sundays
names in vain
rock & roll
& drinking wine
a Christian girl just trusts the Book
and not her fallen, wicked mind

smiling in public
speaking to strangers
laughing out loud
(just what kind of message are you trying to send, anyway?)

Issue 9, 2017, pg. 43

Easter Portrait, 1964 (Father to Son)

C. W. Emerson

I hold the snapshot
close to the lamp.

The print is faded, sepia-toned;
only hints of color remain.

You were three years old,
and dressed for Easter —

shorts and knee socks,
sport coat, cap.

You are handing me a crocus.
I bend to receive it.

I am your father, twenty-five,
and you, my eldest son.

Your grandmother’s garden
is glazed with light.

***

I look up
from my hospital bed,

hoping for a glimpse
of Carolina moon.

My night-sky rider,
sweet bantling boy:

how far have you come
for this vigil —

and what have I done
to deserve you so
near?

Issue 9, 2017, pg. 41

Aftermath

Patricia L. Hamilton

The silence after the storm ravages,

numbing the senses. No birds sing.

Instinct unites them in reverence

for the wreckage of limbs

where they might have been nesting,

now strewn about as carelessly

as a child’s pick-up sticks. 

No dogs bark. They cower under beds,

noses buried in their paws, still

cringing at the thunder’s treachery,

disavowing the testimony

of a clock’s soft ticking.

Only a black-and-white cat

picking its way through leafy debris

as it crosses the wet pavement
remains undeafened by the tumult’s end 

 

from Issue 7, pg. 41