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Swarm

My father spreads Miracle Whip onto my palms,
leads me to a hive on the back porch.

He says, hold

them in front of you and close your eyes. When my lids

lift open I see bees,

                                          golden storm humming in my hand

– their small tongues

            washing onto my skin in a whisper

of sweet.           It tickles.

I laugh.

The beginning is always good.

When I realize what they are, remember their stingers,

I start to cry, beg my father to make it stop,
please make them leave.

He says to close my eyes again, and when

I open them, the insects are gone.

     I told my mother

this story, years later.

She said it wasn’t true.

I must have dreamed it as a child, but when I reach

for the quick fingers of my thieving memory,

                          I remember the feeling of wanting

until I no longer wanted, of my father

 

at home and standing over me

like some god I did not have a name for.

 


Jessica Lynn Suchon is the author of Scavenger, winner of the 2018 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest and forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2019. She received her MFA from Southern Illinois University and has received honors from the Academy of American Poets, as well as an Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Willow Springs, Ninth Letter, Yemassee, Muzzle Magazine, and RHINO Poetry, among others. She is a 2019 Tennessee Playwrights Studio Fellow and the 2019 Femoire Poet-in-Residence. Her librettos have appeared or are forthcoming in works by Stephanie Ann Boyd for the Eureka Ensemble, EKMELES vocal ensemble, and Æpex Contemporary Performance with the Dark Sky Project.