by

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.

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