On the Apiary: A Poem by Monica Schley


On the Apiary

Recipe for Map, Honeycomb & Wineglass:

A cloud of birds rests in nettles like shadows stopping to picnic in a painting. The sound of a human in high grass scares them off. A woman wearing plastic gloves made from bread bags clips the foliage carefully, so the nettles don’t sting.

Drive to areas with elevations low, near a lake. Often county roads are thin blue lines. There you will find your best wild food.

Add raisins
to help the yeast rise

this is what he says, sneaking one into his mouth, while the other hand drops a fistful into the liquid in the large bucket below. The raisins float like flies on foam. Part of the skin sticks to his teeth.

Like a Van Gogh painting, buzzards above the August field circle & circle the blond corn— silently. It was a scorcher the farmer declared & there were more spiders that year than anyone could recall.

A spigot of silvery water in the sunshine forms elaborate pools on the lawn. While drizzles of honey move out of each comb along the sides of the metal spinner, the woman looks out the window & at some point, a song melts from the wax.

Still life with Porcelain, Bees and Twigs:

A poultice of baking soda & water will force the stinger out & reduce swelling. Mix with a spoon in a small Tupperware© (found at your local conglomerate) and stir into a thick white paste.

1 Tbs. baking soda
1/4 Cup warm water

Ouch, she said.

You’re hurting me.

He wanted to adopt

a new perspective, a new recipe on how to live as rural American gone urban gone rural again. How many years for each place was the question. He thought both suns were equally as bright.

The comb empty
is like having a hand over one eye.

Recently, against a wineglass, an old grey collection of mortared stones served as back drop to a 30 second television commercial. The glass was poured full of golden mead, as Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair” played. Then a woman’s hand picked it up. The camera zoomed in and the viewer was able to see her smile at the glass and drink from it. While the music slightly slowed to end she sat down on a red bench stained the color of menstrual blood.

I’m too young
for you, she said.

But I love you
he said.

Unlike the wasp, a honeybee will sting its victim only once, and then die.

Served with crackers or bread, fresh watercress can be chopped up with onions or cucumbers. To find a patch, look in cool marshes with some sun, or a ditch. Wash well, especially if found near a road.

1/2 onion finely chopped
1 small cucumber
Dash of salt
1 Tbs. Vinegar (white or apple cider)

Mix with watercress to taste. Serve on rye bread, which is noted for its soft brown depth, (or if you’re feeling dry, a cracker). Cut off the crusts & shape the soft part with a knife (diamond, clover, square, et cetera) and save the crusts to make silly mustaches & laugh with your guests.

Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild:

Pinecones spend their summer in a birdbath, resting in rainwater.

For most effective results
find what is missing
& then give it up.

Line 54, Every tree sends its fibers forth…, was written by Henry David Thoreau




Monica Schley was raised on a historic apiary in NE Wisconsin. Since 2001, she calls Seattle, WA home. She works as a freelance harpist recording, playing therapeutic bedside music in hospitals and teaching. She also performs regularly in public with various ensembles and for private events. Her poems have been published in Burnside Review, Cranky, Cream City Review, and Raven Chronicles. In 2009, her chapbook Black Eden: Nocturnes was published by Pudding House Press. More on her work, blog and music can be found at monicaschley.com andsoundcloud.com/harppoet



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