Laura Beth Kujawa

Hive Mind

I remember the dog-eared atlas
in the backseat pocket of
        my father’s car

the muddy footprint I left on it
with my baby-sized shoe

elevation lines
and routes

when you tell me
that you think
we’re handling this well

my mornings
have begun to cleave at me
cut clean edges like
painters’ tape

I feel my loneliness when the sun is just up

by night I distract myself, seek action in
pursuits that do not require
       a partner.

prowl around piles of dirty clothes
pretend I’m looking for lost things
eat three-quarters of a loaf of bread
sing to the stubborn mice in the walls

but mice are
inscrutable critics, and only
give notes
in the form of
and scat.

grey-green ash features heavily in my dreams
and when I wake
I’m rich in sea glass
those angry sharp edges
blunted numb, sanded round

I want to brine myself in merlot, kerosene, whipping cream
roll myself in rice and inch worms, cottonwool

see my skin twist
after choice tars and feathers

I speculate I may elicit
the smell of hot butter in pans

when my surface
spits and sizzles
with the heat
of me

bottled inside

what can I do with my glass, with my feathers?
may I trade you for your own?
or should I burn them?

I’ll sleep on it

but this morning I have peeled nails off
      in strips

cuticles gone too

I look like I have searched
through the free bin
at a slaughterhouse

I want to tell you
when you call

that I feel I’m devolving in this room
     between the stairs and
     the sink

that the dust that sticks to my feet
from unswept floors
feels like the house
wants me to leave

that I think
one thousand
nine hundred

with you

would be better
would be worse

but I do not say these things.

you suggest your music for my stress:

but when I look them up

their phrases mingle

I seize on the silence
between the tracks
listen for breaths
study the conductors’ batons

for the point

I have questions for you

wrote them down
on the top of the memo
that was sent out at work
about employee bonuses
(I am not eligible)
before I went
to the specimen room

today it’s bees
hundreds of bumbles pinned
on white Styrofoam
their wings stretched
in sets of rigid ellipses

twelve to each
they have released
a waxy crayon smell
that takes me
back to primary school

did they have it before they
found themselves
      in boxes?

I have never smelled a live bee

I want to show you these
busy dead things
take your arm
introduce you to every
      singular, fat one
tell you the names

and Meth

as we go down the line

I want to touch them
with you

right rogue antennae
finger stingers

lace our hands
around one

keeping it

between us


Laura Beth Kujawa is a cross-genre writer living in Burlington, Vermont. She received an MFA in Writing & Publishing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A life-long New Englander, she speaks fluent leaf-peeper, snow bunny, and dairy cow.

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