Melissa Stein
photo credit: John F. Martin

 

Melissa Stein's poetry collection Rough Honey won the 2010 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, New England Review, Best New Poets 2009, Harvard Review, North American Review, Indiana Review, and many other journals and anthologies. She has received artist residency fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Djerassi Foundation, and her work has won awards from Spoon River Poetry Review, Literal Latté, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, among others. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of California at Davis, and is a freelance editor and writer in San Francisco.

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Visit Melissa's website at melissastein.com.

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Olives, Bread, Honey, and Salt

The lanes are littered with the bodies of bees.
A torrent took them, swarming in branches
just as the white buds loosened their hearts
of pale yellow powder. Each body is a lover:
the one with skin blank as pages; the one
so moved by the pulse ticking in your throat;
the one who took your lips in his teeth
and wouldn’t let go; the one who turned
from you and lay there like a carcass. If we were
made to be whole, we wouldn’t be so lost
to each offering of tenderness and a story.
Therefore our greatest longing is our home.
There is always the one bee that circles and circles,
twitching its sodden wings.

 

First published in New England Review, 2004. Copyright © Melissa Stein.

 

 

 

 

 

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This site designed and composed by Diane K. Martin. Technical and graphics assistance by Nathaniel Martin. Copyright © 2010 Diane K. Martin. All poems the properties of the original authors. Blackbird graphic scanned from a woodcut by Thomas Bewick (1752-1828), source: 1800 Woodcuts by Thomas Bewick and his School, Dover Publications, Inc. This site last updated: July 2, 2010