Holly Brown

The Beekeeper 

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.


 Night Oranges 

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.

Posted on July 7, 2014 .