We are the Bees of the Invisible
says Rilke, of poets (I think). I thought I could never
be a bee: all that peer pressure, the hum
and hustle of the hive. Who can relax
when the next bee is doing her urgent dance?
But the bees of the invisible live wild,
solitary lives – in bee hotels in botanical gardens,
in hollow reeds, in holes in dry bricks,
a kind of Manhattan at the edge of a wood.
Each singular bee in her cell makes
honey, so transparent that it looks like nothing.
But a hungry tongue can just detect its mix
of tastes, its texture, tough and sweet, like love.
(from Advice for an Only Child)
We always met at Cafe Blunt –
latte, eggs, Moroccan tiles.
Your hair was growing back
more wiry and wild.
You said that it had spread –
brain, liver, bones,
a butcher’s plate.
You looked afraid. We talked
of other things,
that we should get out more,
enroll in match dot com, how hard it was
to make new friends.
(first published in The Moth)
Anja (@citywarbler ) grew up in the German language and now writes in English. Her work has appeared in many magazines in the UK and the US, including Poetry Review, Poetry London, Magma, The Manhattan Review. Her first pamphlet Advice for an Only Child was published by Flipped Eye in 2014.