“Opening the Hive”

A Poem by Amanda Moore

November 1, 2021  By Amanda Moore

Late afternoon slants, illuminates
the worn, white husk of hive and gleams
like an incubator bulb on the oval of an egg.
This might have been the way I was born
to move over my mother and wash from her
what was left of painful birth, her legs
like the old wood cracked with a hive tool,
my lips clamping and the bees burrowing
into honeycomb, bathed in sweetness,
a taste fresher when robbed this way.

Smoke to calm, to push the heaving down,
down to the center where the queen hides
and is stroked, flanked by the upturned rumps
of guard bees, wings fanning scent in warning.

I open this small universe and set it in motion,
a new heart ready to be fed and broken and fed again,
gathering strength to reseal and take into itself

what we leave behind: fingerprints
through broken comb and crushed drones.

This might have been the way I was born
then set to life: stolen honey clinging

to light hair that covers everything new.
Like late afternoon sunlight, a kiss
on my dented forehead, mother collapsed and emptied

of poison, barbed stinger, and the baby, the jelly, the bee.


Requeening, Amanda Moore

From Requeening by Amanda Moore. Copyright © 2021 by Amanda Moore. Reprinted courtesy of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Amanda Moore
Amanda Moore is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets, ZYZZYVA, and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting. She teaches high school English and lives by the ocean in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.

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