THE WOMAN WHO BECAME BEE
She knew she was changing. She started to buzz,
to drone on about flowers, became pollen-legged,
crazed for the scent of salvia, penstemon.
She rubbed her calves on petals, sank her tongue
into the long pink well of a foxglove,
saw a giant sheet of light from her different eyes.
They had come suddenly. A swarm that surrounded
her in a cloud, until she was dense with bees,
a solid honeycomb, skin fuzzy as stubble,
but soft as brown and yellow silk.
They entered her pores, as if she was a cave
or a hollowed-out tree, colonised her like a new planet.
The swarm spread through her bones,
snuggled into her breasts, settled in the marrow.
They made honey from her cells, formed a cadre
in her head, fed on capillaries, and she hummed
as though she was a taut wire, trembling with tension.
She sucked the bees into herself, became hive,
as the queen in her womb moved and shifted,
shivered along the arteries and veins.
Now she dances light as an aphid on her thin,
too-many legs, drinks sweet gold mead,
soars across the garden on her four wings,
fears the quick stealth of badger and dragonfly.
Whilst under her heart a new queen emerges
like a phoenix from the ashes of herself.