a handful of herstory

This is an expanded and edited version of Bee sting, for the dVerse prompt “The body & Poetry“.

I have since given away my beehive, so no revisits after this. 

My hand swells as the venom spreads,
until it is smooth and puffed;
an inflated glove
or a giant toddler’s hand.

As the skin stretches the wrinkles disappear
and the tiny hidden scars stand out clear.
My stories written on my hands:

White crescents each side of my thumb,
carved by a bird, trapped and crazed,
madly flapping, flailing,
biting when freed.

The fine line across my palm,
from my grandmother,
years gone now,
resting a baby cousin on my hand
as it lay on a sharp edge.
I never told her – why hurt her?

A motley patch on my wrist
records a moment of carelessness:
a slick mud road,
a moment of helplessness
before the airbag left that burn.
(And I turned in terror
to the back seat.)

Pale ridges across two knuckles,
these also self-inflicted,
but in a moment of fury
and despair –
no accident these, but a statement.
(I turn my hand to face these ones away.)

And so many small mishaps,
so much daily clumsiness,
but still inscribed here.

The venom slowly dissolves and disperses.
My hand shrinks, and wrinkles,
aging years in each hour.
And all the scars are hidden,
and forgotten again.


Filed under poem

19 responses to “a handful of herstory

  1. A poetic examination of your hands … facilitated by the sting of a bee ~~~ awesomeness.

  2. I love how the bee sting turned into a magnifying glass for those memories attached to the scars. Scars worn with the honor of having lived a life. Such a beautiful telling.

  3. This is a powerful write with the details that brings forth why:
    My stories written on my hands.

    The wrinkles and the scars through the years – they are filled with our history. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Thanks Grace 🙂
      There’s an informative comedy TV show in Aus called Gruen which is about how advertising works, and one of the segments is “the Pitch” where advertising companies make an ad to sell something “unsellable”. The Wrinkles ads are in this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP760wVl5EQ, starting at 25:10. The second one (at 26:35) is one of my favourites. (Although the We Should Invade New Zealand ones in a different episode are pretty good. 😀 )

  4. Wow Kate, your hands have been through it! Hope all is well these days. Stay healthy! 😉

  5. Great poem! Such great observations. What an amazing history to show up in a bee sting. It’s like holding lemon juice writing to a candle! Scars are memories. Memories are scars.

  6. I love how you wove the story of examining the scars and memories after a bee sting.

  7. sanaarizvi

    This is such a powerful rendition of the bee sting! Poetic, glorious and oh so palpable and moving. 💝💝

  8. I really love this! It’s mindful to remember our scars and healing to also let them fade and be forgotten. 💚

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