Avra Margariti

Bear sleeps like the dead
on a bed of brittle thin-veined leaves
in a cave of small animal remains.

Her friend Bee comes a-buzzing
smelling of orgasmic flowers.
“Come outside, dearest mine.
Come taste the spring honey
drip-drip-dripping from every hive.”

Bear growls, yawns, rolls over.
Sinks back to black-hole dreams.

Next time Bee comes a-calling,
she reeks of too-sweet rot.
Isolation is known to play games
on Bear’s mind. Hunger, too.
Oh, yes, the hunger.

“It’s time again to wake with the world,”
Bee says. “I’ve prepared my best honey
just for you. I know how much you love
to sink your paws in sweetness.”

Bear’s mouth tastes of cave dust,
blood, and fur,
all leftovers from the long winter.
Spring, she muses.
She wouldn’t mind something sweet.

Bee leads the way, out of the darkness
and into the sunlight stinging Bear’s eyeballs.
Bee has been keeping busy.
Everywhere Bear looks, desolation.

Bee spirals through polluted ochre air
laughing, laughing.
Gunpowder pollen and cyanide nectar,
royal jelly cradling bullets.
Bear thinks of honey that is sanguine-dark
and gritty with stingers and ground glass.
Of sharp-toothed traps
hidden like mines around the forest clearing.

Through it all, the flowers standing
tall and toxic-bright.

She wants to feed me to the gun barrels, Bear thinks
as the first hunters emerge from between trees.
My old friend wants my blood to water
her flesh-eating flowers,
my marrow to sweeten her rot-candied honey.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Would you like another?

Kevin M. Folliard October 20, 2020

Season’s Greetings

Depressed and suicidal, Flynn makes a pact with an ancient spirit, a monstrous being made of glass who writes eloquent letters promising to claim Flynn’s life and end his suffering. But when he unexpectedly finds love in the arms of Nan, they must fight to break the pact and save his soul.

Alin April 16, 2021

Why We Don’t Expect Writers to be Public Figures

As social media gained popularity, publishers and agents began expecting writers to come with their own platforms and share themselves and their lives online in service of building a customer base. At The Dread Machine, we don’t.

Davide-Mana December 10, 2020

The Taste of Ashes

After a global pandemic, collecting the dead and bring them to the burning pits is a legit way to make a living. On her first day on the job, a young woman needs to learn the basics, and learn them fast.

Kevin M. Folliard April 15, 2021


Forced to live with unfriendly relatives on an Arkansas farm, Cooper accepts strange chicken feed from a sinister salesman that impacts the chickens in unexpected ways.

Dan LeRoy November 10, 2020


“In the countries that are more uniform, people were more likely to smile to show they were superior to one another.” Can a smile really kill? One of these two men is about to find out.

Larina Warnock March 2, 2021

Fringe Benefits

In a dystopian society where employees are covered by productivity insurance, benefits are earned by competing in deadly company picnic games. Unfortunately for Veronica, sleeping with the boss’s wife makes her a prime target.

Buy a Book?