A new poem sequence by Wellington poet Jackson Nieuwland.
- They told me to be myself, so I entered the hive.
- Bees the size of my head descended upon me.
- They covered every inch of my body like a chrysalis.
- I continued walking forward, through a blur of buzz and fuzz.
- At the center of the hive, I found the queen.
- I knelt before her and asked, “How can I be myself?”
- She gave me a long series off instructions.
- I couldn’t understand any of them because I didn’t speak bee.
- When she finished speaking, I stood and left the hive.
- The bees fell away from my body, revealing the new me: reddened skin covered in swollen stings.
- I love to bask in devastation.
- Bathe in the musk of depression.
- No matter how long I wash my armpits, they carry the scent.
- I am beginning to smell like pasta.
- I am beginning to smell like my father.
- I’ve tried my whole life not to become him.
- My fondest memories are of the worst time of my life.
- I am at work, waiting for the final 35 minutes to pass.
- I am trying to figure out what to have for dinner.
- Fuck whoever invented the concept of time.
- I cut a 1cm square of skin from my finger, disfiguring the print.
- I plant the square in the backyard, under damp dark soil.
- I do this every morning.
- I am growing a garden of new selves.
- Rows and rows of them, buried to the waist, torsos protruding from the earth, palms resting on the ground.
- Their eyes are blank, cloudy, unblinking.
- Their hair blowing in the wind like ash.
- Their fingers without prints.
- I walk down the rows, feeding them sour lollies and fertiliser.
- Soon it will be time to harvest.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.