Stone Telling

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The Honey Times

by Cathy Bryant

Everyone tells you about decay
in harsh chopping strokes, words
like arthritis, ugliness, cancer, chronic pain;
or wrap it up in 'wisdom' and 'parchment wrinkles'.
But no one mentions peace and joy.
A comfortable silence
where once your demons howled – forever,
or so you thought. A flower garden grown
in your heart where, once, broken concrete
displayed the bootings and sprayings of vandals.
The warmth of two fat loving bodies
that would horrify the young judgmental self
– that sensuality of cellulite, of shapes at last
relaxed and fallen, drooping, pollen-heavy.
No one tells you that despite decay,
yes, and illness and pain,
you will know yourself and find ways
to sate your deepest needs; will let yourself
be happy in a home of your own making.
No one tells you of the vivacity, the furious
bee-life fermented into that of the
honey-eater. The sweetness. The plenitude.

Cathy Bryant won the 2012 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Prize for the worst opening line of a novel, and is a former blogger for the Huffington Post. Her stories and poems have been published on five continents, so her ambition is to break into the Antarctican market. Also in 2012, Cathy won the Sampad 'Inspired by Tagore' Contest, the Malahat Review Monostich Contest and the Swanezine Poetry Competition. In 2013 Cathy won the M.R. Jordan Winter Writing Contest. She co-edits the annual anthology Best of Manchester Poets and her collection, Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature, was published recently.

Photography: Bee in Black, by Adam Moralee.