SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

I Am Not Talking About Bees by C. Kubasta


The bee box arrives, its furious Latin, or Greek: menarche & all that. But

you know what this is for, this is not for

you. Nubility comes later, maybe. You are neither predictable nor consistent

in your intervals, your duration, your pain.


Less celebrated, the hive depends

on non-fertile female worker bees. We clean & build, forage

& gather, guard. We

are often short-lived, our bodies

collect at the mouth of hives, we sacrificial females, we noble

honey-drudges. Few songs sung

for this thousand-strong caste.


For the woman who doesn’t mother, others caution: you will regret

your choice. For the woman who mothers, no one asks: do you regret

your choice? But some do – there is research on regretting motherhood,

but it is the great taboo. The ecologist said, “The ability to birth

fertilized eggs – to mate – is called a ‘privilege.’” (That’s just how

she put it.) The way we word platitudes: Children are a joy; Children

are a blessing, encode non-choice into our Cultural DNA.


Since stopping my fallopian tubes with nickel and overgrowth flesh, I’ve become

predictable & consistent in interval, duration, pain. I exceed my own estimation

of absorptive materials, the ticking of the clock. I throw clots, accumulated

endometrium. (Brood cells uncleaned). The women I know

are long past this – menopausal, or hysterectomied. The aged queens ask

why I save this equipment, this empty room, this deflated balloon.


As if it only values with use, as if it doesn’t reside inside me, isn’t me.


As if I haven’t stored things there: an armoire; two tube TV’s – their elegant curved backs,

outdated, but still working; some clothes I may fit into again.


The nuptial flight marks the position of the hive, days after the Queen

emerges from her cell; other flights last only minutes, long enough

to collect what she needs of drones, before returning to keep the factory

humming. Sometimes she cannot or will not

fly; sometimes she leaves. A hive without a proper queen is doomed.


C. Kubasta writes poetry, prose and hybrid forms. She is the author of the chapbooks, A Lovely Box and &s, and a full-length poetry collection, All Beautiful & Useless (BlazeVOX, 2015). She has two books forthcoming in December 2017: Of Covenants (poetry, Whitepoint) and Girling (novella, Brain Mill). She is active with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and serves as Assistant Poetry editor with Brain Mill Press. Find her at www.ckubasta.com and follow her @CKubastathePoet.


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