Mama as Demeter

Everything is about loss. The bees, too long overwintered, still beat
their wings double-time to preserve their queen. I would take them

as I’ve taken everything else—the hawk’s eyes eaten,
the farmer’s toenails curled in death, his wife’s greasy lip-
print on his whiskey glass—except you always loved bees
& I wanted you not to have them.

I am kind. I don’t keep the lake from rifting.
Beneath the weakening ice, a flounder’s scales
are yellowing back to life. Soon you, too,
will unfreeze. Yes, daughter. I do want you

back. My laudanum. My satellite. Buried seed
pearl, mine. But can’t I love this deprivation
a little longer? There is joy

in taking. Even from you.