April 14, 2019

Maya Owen


after Kaveh Akbar

Four bees were found in a woman’s eye,
surviving by drinking her tears. They say grief

is good protein. I could not make this up.
And why act surprised? The universe

has already written the poem you were going
to write. Then it winks like this

at your efforts to pollinate anything
with your melancholy, its sticky black legs.

My sister calls. She’s heard it too,
it’s as we suspected: a woman

is one kind of apiary. Today the world
seems full of them, small and improbable:

this poem, for one.
Well aren’t there bees in it?

Soon, I’m convinced, my doctors will notice
the noise of their wings, the veins

clogged with honey—the whole hive
I’ve harboured, and who’ve

been making a meal
of my heart.

from Poets Respond
April 14, 2019


Maya Owen: “Doctors in Taiwan this week removed—alive—four tiny bees who’d crawled inside a woman’s eye and had been drinking her tears. The poem of it! The confluence of grotesque and alluring? Something that sounds beautiful but is actually incredibly painful? Definitely a poem. The italicised text is taken from a series of tweets by Kaveh Akbar, dedicated to acknowledging the insurmountable poemness of life. Which is maybe the best we can do.” (web)

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