Robert Rothman: ‘Scimitar’ and ‘The Bees’


It is always there, unseen until you spot it
in the night sky, that dagger of pain that takes
your breath away, like an adagio where each
note hurts but too beautiful to resist. The moment
before you were humming along. Now, stunned
and bleeding some ancient hurt that every human
who has ever lived has known, you are wordless,
the vast black sky dotted with pinpricks of light,
raw and razor-sharp, into your unknown heart.

Robert Rothman

The Bees

If you lie in the grass, stretched out like
a jungle cat, all muscles relaxed and body
melting into the green, they will come, landing

on you like a hundred miniature airborne
crafts descending, the black pincers darting skin
like acupuncture needles, their pulsing

proboscises probing the scent rising from
flesh, you a flowering plant to be sipped and made
more. They won’t sting, and if you turn over

slowly the bees will rotate in the same rhythm
and resettle. Your nose is an invitation
to enter, eyes opening and closing—petals

to buzz about. Kept down by their swarm of
sound, a whirring that mesmerizes ears
and mind, the will to rise is numbed, as if

a hand gently pushes against the chest
if such thought arises. Thick in the nest of
swirling wings and whishing, whizzing, droning

music, you surrender what tension remains
and fall asleep. Sleeping Beauty could not
have fallen under a spell more deliciously potent.

Robert Rothman

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