Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Apiary

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I fit the walls in place with pliers,
hold them till the glue dries. The saw
hums, dust swarms and beats it wings
around my shoulders.

                    All this dark summer I placed frame
                    on frame. From my childhood I remember
                    nothing. But my sons hang from the metal
                    bars, unfold their bodies, mise en abyme.

Humidity swells the joints. Don't tell me
I've never built anything. I assembled these
cell walls from spit and pulp, I carried
the daub and wattle hive for months.

          The sunflowers bow their heavy heads,
          goldfinches shaking the stalks, bright yellow
          messengers of sorrow: their small flesh
          the smoke of old coal plants.

                    We wed in a field. Clover and wild carrot,
                    and the veil obscuring my view. For a moment
                    I was both queen and keeper, until the hum
                    began -- warning song, epithalamium.

Thich Nhat Hanh says do not ask,
Cloud, when were you born?
Deep hive body, brood chamber:
inside each box, another box.

          I stretch the wire across the wood;
          pull it taut to my thumb's callus.
          In the yard, the morning glory clings to the trellis,
          its blue stars squinting.


Eleanor Stanford’s book, The Book of Sleep, was published by Carnegie Mellon Press in 2008. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, The Georgia Review, and many other journals. She lives in Salvador, Brazil, with her husband and three young sons, where she works as a guidance counselor at an international school and maintains a blog, The Golden Papaya.


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Beautiful poem.
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