From Keeping Bees        

by Dimitra Xidous

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Whenever anyone asked him about the symbolism

he’d answer ‘a bull is a bull and a horse is a horse’

and really, he’s right about that. Still, it was there,

in the horse most of all — a spear through the body,

throat tight, mouth like a vulva ajar choking on the meat

of an intruder — yes, it was there, in the horse most of all

where Picasso got it right, the way a living thing will react

to an attack on the body: he knew to paint it open;

agony exists best in the open, and sometimes also,

where there is a hole.

Leading up to Guernica, he practiced by painting

a horse with a beautiful body — healthy, plump, and

strong as any woman’s before she knows to fear

the sounds of guns, bombs, and unwanted sex. Next to it,

he painted a figure, thin as a stem, hung like a boy.

Bee’s Wing


Pull the wing off a bee and it will still

die for the sting.

I think about the times I’ve pulled my feet

out of shoes too small to fit,

how many times

I tore the nail free from the toe

and I wonder

if this is dying for the sting for pulling off a bee’s wing

until it hits me that a toenail is more like the myth

of a complete other thing with wings.


Skin breaks for being thin as a bee’s wing

and as I feel your cock go soft, pull back,

it’s clear you died a little death for the sting of it too.

Bodies spent, a myth

with wings stirs:

in the ash, death reigns fertile;

from the ash a bird rises —

from the ash, a new toenail begins.