Rhadha Marcum

Issue #
September 27, 2015

Wife of Classified, 1956

Into the dry, electrical hum
of summer insects

smoke goes smuggling comfort
across her blood-brain barrier.

Four children in seven years,
in a house the second war built,

a family tree the arms race fed.
Grandmother: How rarely

she feels hunger as hunger,
in the stunned mechanism

of the two-beat flood, a beggar
at the gate of fiercer experiments

shut even to her, behind
his mind’s guarded perimeter.

(After dinner it’s the solace
of Wordsworth or Scientific American

alone.) So, at least grant her this:
smolder for the hive, a habit

to blunt the buzz of
sharper instincts. In time,

blindness. But for now, it’s just
July, two decades before the first

grandchild arrives in this
enclosed carport where her ash-hand

sways as she squints to see
as the honeybee sees: in violent,

shuddering color. Here and there
in Grandfather’s petunias, it takes

to the splayed crimson and indigo
throats that opened this morning

in brilliant photo-synthetic

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