two poems

by Aris Kian

Ekphrasis 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