Megan Merchant

Epigenetics

I kneel with the bees
while they drink

from pocketed drips
that pool on the glossed

green of lily pads.

I was not prepared
for such beauty
after the storm,

their blissing hum,
their hive-mind.

I grew up with their stick
high on my list
of things

to fear
in this world—

how it only takes one
to anger and swell my throat,
cinch my breath.

But I’m learning to sit
with terror long
enough to know

it was never
my own to begin with—

I have kept close
to my skin

what another out-grew
and handed down.

*

I have my children
sit and trace the shapes
of bees,

flickery bodies
in motion,
crumbed yellow,

as if they had the power
to orbit and touch the sun.

When they swarm
my son’s hair,

I give him a spoonful
of honey

so he will remember
instead
to crave the sweet.

 

 Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ.  She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, Glass Lyre Press, 2017), four chapbooks, and a forthcoming children’s book with Philomel Books. She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera, the Poet Laureate of the United States. She is an Editor at The Comstock Review and you can find her work at  meganmerchant.wix.com/poet.

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