Nicole Callihan


but who owns the bees/ or by whom are the bees owned/ the buzzing/ that I might thrust/ the stinger of you/ out of my skin/ that I may sway/ and swell/ never tell/ that I might deny myself/ might deny others/ of you/ what’s true/ what root and honey/ what petal’s pollen/ what hive and home/ how I lie prone/ having honed/ in on the give/ of your hip/ to go into/ go inside/ round yonder/ round rather/ round robin/ in the dream/ your mouth wouldn’t open/ in the dream/ the windows were closed/ in the dream/ mercy/ and so many flowers/ I was embarrassed/ by the blooms/ the grasses that grow/ and the wind/ o wind/ o filament and anther/ to what do I owe/ this pleasure/ to whom/ one must wane/ must yield/ kneel and thrill/ the stigma/ the sepal/ the trim/ the brimming/ the bane/ I was taught/ a song/ and sang/ and sang/ of what I feared/ of nearness/ of the bee/ that crawled/ the electric sting/ o suddenness/ o anaphylactic/ shock of hair/ of corn/ of wheat/ of what carries/ from flower to flower/ what is carried/ o flower/ open

Nicole Callihan writes poems and stories. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Copper Nickel, and the American Poetry Review. Elsewhere, her latest poetry collection, a collaboration with Zoë Ryder White, won the 2019 Sixth Finch Chapbook Prize and was released in March 2020. Find out more at

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