This poem from the Meanjin archives was first published in 1996.
The house is quiet but alive
the way a caress between two women
in another room is heard as palms
over jumpers, over skin, overhushed
and visible somehow though absent from you.
The house is alive with quiet. I lie in bed
reading about light—light denied to me—
Even the kitchen is clean bright silence
as we left it last night.
On the bench, a pair of scissors remains
open as if cutting through the air to the heart
of this silence, and one fallen
slip of green poppy-shell, fallen
hands. The uncoiling of red
yellow paper poppies in my fist
growing in dance-steps, in slow
Scissors, remnant of flower. My friend
buys poppies daily to entice bees,
bees that came in a wash of light one day through her
open, slant-roofed attic window to deliver themselves
at the knees of our first spring offering.
Sunny mornings we read in bed
accompanied by soft methodical singing
of bees. 8:30 to 4:30,
long bee-days, bee-weeks
until packed with everything we can give them
they leave us,
the wooden floor dusted yellow.
Then daily you wait, you buy poppies, you leave
the window open with night
for bees I can only wish into being.
And Bronnie, if I could bring you
a handful of bees, not entombed in my fists, but haloed
in gold, a balloon of bee-light, bee-work,
mornings candle-yellow and humming
like the air charged between two faces before a kiss,
Meanjin Volume 55 Issue 1 1996
The full Meanjin archive can be accessed at www.informit.com.au/meanjinbackfiles