Liturgy of the Hive
by Sarah Ben Olson

How she wants the pleasure of the comb in autumn,
brimmed with clover drops, a whole season of frenzy sated
by the taste of flowers
and the entire body humming: bliss, bliss, bliss.


Her sweet house is ransacked every time, smoke pouring in, pouring in.
Every cup emptied, cedar walls streaked with soot.

How strange the smoke looked lovely
curling to the ceiling beams.
Her heart still watches it rise: why should smoke be beautiful
she wonders.


She wakes drowsy, yawning
and hurries the forage into flower bed, orchard.

My hunger roves in deep velvet, murmuring veined wings
thousands of eyes, lined in char.

Desire keeps the body dancing the way to the next
bloom, storing her fill, doing need’s work.
Without her need, could the tree bend under the weight of its ripe fruit?


Her heart felt still watching the smoke rise
even now she ponders it, yearning warm in her breast,
her soft abdomen thick.


In the light of summer, the walls gleam
as if written all over in gold.

Billows of smoke fill the sanctuary,
censing the spaces that rise above like awe,
inert, she watches the unfurling cloud ascend,
breathing the fragrance
of desire.

Heaven help me, it’s a sweet smell.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 3.

Sarah Ben Olson is a writer, mother, and artist in Eastern Washington.

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