Today's poem is by Sally Wen Mao

Pompey, 67 BC

It was swarm season—of honey and carnage:
one moment men scavenged, the next they were carrion

under an orange sky. It was swarm season
and before you could count to ten, quivers raked,

stars aimed, a thousand twigs rustled, fell.
Honey and carnage, divesting us of reflex.

It was swarm season. In the sweltering evening, blood
was scented, pure delphinium. Honey and carnage:

Delphi once prophesied, The man who eats meli chloron
can speak only truth
. Whose sentence was this,

the pleasure of green honey? Ribs flashed,
tongues wagging, sliced off, churning, stumps for speech.

It was swarm season—over before anyone
could bray. But a few mouths were open in surprise.

Copyright © 2014 Sally Wen Mao All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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