I put my hand on your shoulder and feel a beehive
under my fingers, a subtle buzzing as fierce and resigned
as the tears dripping off your nose.

Is it because your pet rabbit died last week, or
because your girlfriend has thrown you out again, or
because you can’t take working sixteen-hour days anymore?

Is it because you need something you don’t know how
to ask for? Something you can’t even name? Something
solid, piercing?

If I had a beekeeper’s suit I would try to get under your skin,
tiptoe through the honeycomb halls of your heart, pursue
that vibration with the ferocity of language searching for

expression, pound the walls until I found a weak spot,
ram my shoulder against it until the wax gave way,
bursting against a flood of silent howls.

But touch is all I have to offer, even though my hands
are as brisk as the breeze, pale knuckles like ice
trailing over your collarbone.

Carla Criscuolo is the author of Pedestrian Traffic (Finishing Line, 2015). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Main Street Rag, Boston Literary Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Stepping Stones Magazine, and Amarillo Bay. On Twitter, people call her @PoeticCarla.

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