Here is the Cosmos
days with dandruff—heavenly
dermatitis flakes, pagans caked
underneath my nails proclaiming
this is your dimension today.
persecuting than sheep perching
on my elbow & less vivacious
than hounds sleeping in my shoes.
Here is today: no harps, no
hands to heads. After picking
at follicles in my scalp, skin falls
away. No— slithers away.
Here is the snake’s egg
abandoned. Except the snake peeled its
skin, fouled & fed to the rat. Except
the rat lives & wears the skin as a flight suit.
Molting, too, I think. What is newness
For a while, at least. In the shower,
today is tomorrow. I squeeze
the bottle, soap spirals in my hands
& I scrub & scrub & scrub.
The Fucking Bees are Dying
I was a carpenter bee bounty hunter once. I was handed a battered
tennis racket with black tape warping up into my fists
& I swung. Thankfully, I mostly missed. Some people are still swinging, still
seeing the bees as vermin, but let’s face it: first
impressions aren’t pretty. Flight doesn’t put humans
at ease. We are grounded, stuck, so we cut down trees. We build homes
out of wood to lift us up, out of the sinking Earth, & into the sky but
here come the fucking bees. They bobble in the air, a dozen drones
dancing around a queen. Mating, mounting & mangling, they boast
about their flight. They burrow into our wood like it’s theirs &
about after their feast. I thought they were mocking me. I didn’t listen
to their lullaby, didn’t see their vibrations shimmering in the springtime
breeze. Some people divide their lives into before & after, but I divide my life
into when I was a hunter & now. Now, I am one of the bees who I would have killed
for twenty-five cents per body because I can’t help but flit
for a queen. Survival is an instinct with three chances to learn
to work or to die & I know we are still animals
but even St. Augustine said all misery dies with man, not
with fucking bees. Look, I know how to string a racket so that it whistles
while it swings but listen, please, this is the lullaby: buzzing, not
the beating in the bathhouse of a woodpecker’s red beak but picketed
white porch rails breaking while bees drill & then pollinate.
This is misery: quarters, plunking in the bottom of a glass water jug
& still, we don’t survive.
About Kristin Kehl
Kristin Kehl 宁福思 (she/her) is an emerging poet who says some delightfully unpoetic things. She has work published or forthcoming in Kudzu Review, Button Eye Review and Cat Family Records. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Florida State University.