Bodies break up every day, but still we’re surprised when it happens to us, and we struggle for an appropriate image. Let’s try this for size: a beehive in a golden field, the Sun low, and a pandemonium of urgent buzzing. There’s honey fit for gods and wax to light lovers to that room where nothing is understood and nothing is forgotten. These are some of our days and dreams, but what of all the bees? Fifty, maybe sixty, thousand points of coming, going, and unquestioned giving; each unique but indistinguishable in birth, death, and the perfect work in between, until one day they’re nothing but an illustration in a school textbook or a painting with a doubtful provenance that tourists pass without looking on their way to the Bosch or the Leonardo. This is who we are, standing in this mess of a cluttered kitchen, not knowing what to do with our hands or the rest of our lives, as millions of cells die or divide in a constant buzz of breaking. We only sting when we’re afraid, and there’s sweetness at the heart of our shattering.
Oz Hardwick is a UK-based poet, whose work has been widely published in international journals and anthologies. His most recent publication is the prose poetry sequence Wolf Planet (Clevedon: Hedgehog, 2020).