Laura C. Alonso

Third time that day, he was on me. On me like bees to a flower (or flies on shit, he'd correct me, no doubt). Sucking sweet nectar and breathing that breath — damn that breath — round my head, in my ear, pestering, bugging, like a bee he annoyed me.

But I knew not to swat him away.

“Don't swat, hon,” my mother, she told me, “just stay really still, yes, be statue-like still, and it'll fly straight away. Only sting when they're threatened, those bees, honey, really. They don't want to hurt you — don't want to sting, honey, really, they don't.”

Hope this one will fly soon, then I thought to myself on that day ('cause I was hurting, really).

Not enough nectar for all that damn buzzing, my flower was dry, then, just like potpourri, only just not so tough — not so dead it could crumble.

Almost, but not dead I said to myself on that day (like on so many others).

And how could I threaten him, big as he was? But I didn't swat, no, just lay still, didn't move (never do), and my sticky, sweat-spackled hot skin, under him, longing to breathe, was then touched by cool air, like a breeze.

Insect-man flew away.

He flew, looking more like a hive than a bee. Not a hive like a nest, but a hive like skin lesions, ugly and red, all puffy and chafed (like his breath), and all that you want is to scratch it. To scratch, scratch, and scratch with your nails and your knuckles, the stone on your ring — just to scratch, but you can't, and it's maddening.

Mother, she told me, “Don't scratch, honey, no — it'll only get worse. Just think something else, don't dwell, just be still. Scratching a hive won't help, dear . . . please just trust in your mom and be still, honey.”

And like hives will dry up if you stay very still, I dry up (every time) and it's over. The bees fly away, not meaning to hurt me — they don't want to sting me, really they don't.

It's honey they're after, I know.

I do trust you, Mom, yes I say to myself on these days (if you can't trust your mother, then who . . . )

When the bees fly away, I curl up like a bud. Dried up like flowers, petals close, curling in.

And I've never been stung, never swatted or scratched . . . . . . never blossomed.

“Be still,” Mother said, and I am.

Laura C. Alonso has studied psychology at Loyola University of Chicago and is a former employee in the field of child welfare, having worked with several nonprofit organizations, including the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and The American Academy of Pediatrics. She now brings much to her writing from these experiences and is currently experimenting with applying Experiential Learning theories to her fiction and poetry. Ms. Alonso is the moderator of The Reader's Corner, an on-line reading and discussion group for writers sponsored by Coffeehouse for Writers. She resides with her husband in a suburb of Chicago.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...