You asked me where the buzz was coming from
and even though I knew it was the refrigerator running
that you heard, I told you that I had a beehive hidden
underneath the floorboards at our feet.
I knew then that you didn’t believe me
because you said it sounded like a lawnmower on the roof,
even though you couldn’t smell the gasoline
through the tiles that we counted on the ceiling.
I watched you drink from a cherry juice-box reservoir
like your thirst was unquenchable. Your straw buzzed
with your determination. I split the skin of a cherry
tomato with my teeth because I couldn’t break you.
Your mouth ran like a marathon of feet
while my cherry lips flew as if they had wings.
We spoke truths that were the cousins of lies
as we tried to sting each other like the bees that did not fly beneath us.
There are no bees. The refrigerator buzzes and it comforts me—
let’s me tell you about something else that fluctuates. It kept our
quiet from being silence while you suckled from your drinking gourd
and I waited for the bees I did not keep to come to me.
At night I am an orange with hands
and a peeling problem.
Purgatory is lying on the floor,
because that’s where I air the peel piles.
At night, I can admit that I have juicy veins;
I can be less afraid of being bitten.
In the morning I am tired or not as ripe.
I have layers of pith and skin spider-webs
wedding me to shedded peels
that I am easy to be peeled apart without.
No matter how many times I try
to leave behind my rind,
I get back into it.
Humanity and Black Flies
My kitchen is all about black flies
and they’re only in it for the attention.
They’re almost loud, so they can be sure
that I won’t forget about them -
as if I could -
they’re always touching my bare
knees and shoulder blades,
like my body heat is asking for it.
They stay on top of me just long enough
to be invasive for the sake of it
for me to snap at them and miss—
slap on only skin instead.
It’s my own fault for thinking
I can keep up with their chase.
They only know
how to fly around in circles
while I know better
than to get dizzy
when I’m in it for the kill.
Holly Brown is currently an undergraduate student at St. Lawrence University. Born and raised on the coast of Massachusetts, she often finds herself writing about the ocean and buoyancy, but also insects, produce, and more recently mountains and how to climb them. She hopes to attend an MFA program in poetry in the (fast approaching) future.