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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Suitcase of Bees

by Geraldine Mitchell

She brought it everywhere, its silver, dimpled surface
effervescent with the whirr of wings within.
In public she would spread her skirt’s thick folds
to mute the angry drone, paint a smile across her face,

hope no-one would notice. Once inside her own four walls
the vibrations grew so shrill she held her head and hummed,
a wild crescendo.
The ambulance crew was gentle as they led her owl-eyed

through the gates, bees still rustling taffeta in her head.
The case was silent, a ruse in sly collusion with the doctor
who swore she was an expert, knew all there was to know
of stings and swarms, their stridency, how to outface the queen.

They built a wooden beehive, surrounded it with lemon balm,
sweet basil, mint. And now, except for mild tinnitus, she is calm.

(published in The Interpreter’s House, Issue 43)