The Swarm by Karen Little

On Sunday picnic swarms arrive to view from the outside,
the inside; bringing Greek honeycomb, clever hexagrams,
stupid square sandwiches; olives transported from stony slopes.

Tommy arrives, so angry he scares my dead bones alive.
He needs milk and honey; mink and monkey he calls it; but dad
is insistent, shows Tommy what he wants him to see.

The honey pot flows, and on the cloth lies the lid.
How do I put a lid on it? Tongue stretched, I lick.
They like a lick. No bites. They like a quiet boy.

Imagine I try to claw my way out of this? Sticky paws
are a giveaway. It’s a slippery way inside and a sticky yellow
way out. My bib of white hackles rises, and every Sunday

I decide to just cling on; the end is always in sight.
The swarms leave now, small boys with pick axes held
knee-high; the honey- space visible between the girls’ teeth.

Karen Little

Karen Little trained as a dancer at London Contemporary Dance School, and as a Sculptor at Camberwell School of Art, London. She has performed and exhibited internationally.. She regularly reads her poetry at events and has recently been published in over thirty magazines and anthologies, including Petals in the Pan anthology, Deep Water Literary Journal and Southern Pacific Review.


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