I finally threw up the dead bees that’d been buzzing about
my stomach for some months, propped
them on metal prongs encased in glass panels
as artifacts. Angling the light,
I can almost see their wings’ old flutter
in silvery stillness. I marvel in silence,
making a museum of my bedroom,
and wonder which ones died in the swallow
or in the entrapment with how they banged
against my stomach every night with you, or if
some ever travelled back up the esophagus, leaving
a trail of honey on my tongue.
I contemplated whether they should be enclosed
posthumously, if dead bees were worth
remembering, if I should bury them instead and decided
if ever you were to visit again,
you’d see it was not butterflies at all, it seems, but bees
begging to leave their sweet stingers in you,
longing for the grave of your palm,
to bruise themselves in your skin
with a single touch. I’m sorry I’ve been
gargling the venom since then.
I slept through all the swelling, wishing you’d notice
the welts and suck them dry.
Aris Kian is an inaugural member of Coogslam, 2019’s 4th in the nation collegiate poetry slam team. She is ranked #10 in the 2020 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is an Emerging Writers Fellow for Writers in the Schools and is pursuing her MFA at the University of Houston.
Artwork by: Catherine Heath