Mudlark No. 40 (2010)

The Honey Bees

In the café we talk without listening, nodding
and smiling occasionally: the music is too loud,
meant to be danced to. But I understand
from your expression that you’re saying something urgent 
so I nod and explain that I think of disappearing too, 
letting go of this clutching we hold ourselves in place with,
letting myself go. Like once, as a child,
I watched my father and grandfather, who had 
disturbed a hive of honey bees, run 
crazed across a field, these men who were always
awkward together. They were stung all over
their faces, and couldn’t talk for days. So they grunted. 
And years later I jumped into a mountain stream
so cold it ran through my body like another life
and proved something that way, about silence. And letting go.
My grandfather died by himself, 
when I was off at college. My father simply disappeared.
If I ride my bike joyfully through a thunderstorm.
If I climb a favorite tree as an animal and sleep there
until I can’t remember. If I’m stung awake, alone?

Michael Hettich | Mudlark No. 40 (2010)
Contents | The Funeral