The Extraction of Honey by Angela Readman

After a while, we can harvest the honey.
The room sealed, air butter slick, flies, butting
the screen door. I lay a knife on the gas ring,

slip the steel along the frame. Mother looks
over my shoulder at uncapped combs, wax rolls
into a slow amber fin. She lets out one sob alone,

cells run small movies of my father in sunlight
stood away from windows, silent, at his hive.
He moved frames like still lives of himself.

We place them in the drum, watch it spin,
spokes of memory driving me to remember
us buying dresses a month after, a swirl

of brittle underskirts our honeycomb flinging
out sticky tears. He never did let us buy clothes,
or own shampoo. There was God’s work to do,

one garment should last a preacher’s kin years.
Our hair ought to smell of tar soap and bonfires,
stroked by the Lord. The honey spins. We hold

muslin, sift specks of wax. Drips of honey drop
into a jar like the rain the apricots took to heart, knots
of sap on the tree that does all my weeping for me.

Angela Readman's poems have been published in journals including The Rialto, Ambit, Magma, and Popshot. They have won The Mslexia Competition, The Charles Causley, and The Essex Poetry Prize. She also writes stories, her collection Don't Try This at Home won a saboteur award, and The Rubery Book Award in 2015.

Angela Readman’s poems have been published in journals including The Rialto, Ambit, Magma, and Popshot. They have won The Mslexia Competition, The Charles Causley, and The Essex Poetry Prize. She also writes stories, her collection Don’t Try This at Home won a saboteur award, and The Rubery Book Award in 2015.

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