Ode to the Backyard Bumblebee
Karla CorderoPoetry / Number 100
the bumblebee parades among the snap pea blossoms
like a penny-sized bear with wings,
mining for riches every flower head offers.
flowers whose nectar becomes a sacrifice without warning.
my niece & i watch with obsession, crisscrossed
on the brick patio—the floor which bakes our brown legs
like sweet potatoes in summer. i see the bee’s hind legs
jeweled in pollen. these thick insect thighs
strutting a heavy wealth. & i think about thighs inside a boutique
in front of the mirror. the mirror like god judging
your sin. your sinful fondness for pan dulce,
homemade pancakes, peppermints in the mason jar
at the doctor’s office. so you become a mathematician
measuring thigh gap or lack of or think of ways to subtract
to equal the perfect fit into calvin klein shorts. or the time
a man named your bones: baby making hips. thighs made
for a crawling light, a choice you choose not to let flicker.
light that could carve earlobes, kneecaps—a tongue that could
rename your body mother because of motherhood. & perhaps
i savor the bee’s bliss to love my own gift. flesh thick
in muscle that makes my lap a shelter for when my niece tears up
after the bumblebee pricks the sweet soft of her hands.
Karla Cordero is a Chicana poet, educator, and ARTtivist raised along the borderlands of Calexico, California. She is the author of How To Pull Apart The Earth (Not A Cult, 2018), a 2019 San Diego Book Award winner and awarding-winning finalist for the 2020 International Latino Book Award. Recent poems have appeared in the O-Oprah Magazine, NPR, Academy of American Poets, and The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT anthology, among other publications. She is a Macondo, CantoMundo, Pink Door Writing Retreat, VONA and Loft Literary Center Fellow and Professor at MiraCosta College and San Diego City College. Follow her @karlaflaka13Ready for Liftoff by Denise Johnson