A Bee Tea

Friday, January 17th, 2014


for Sylvia Plath


Mother is dressing me

in her Sixties'

yellow taffeta prom dress

overlay in Chantilly lace.

Now, a black velvet hat

with a flower on the side.

It's drooping over

my ears and eyes.

I'm cramming my toes

inside these pointed-toe slippers.

She's pulling taut on my skin

these long gloves -

they're slinking, clinging

to my helpless wrists,

so my sharp elbows

secretly fight her.

(They're foolish.)


These women -

they're swarming me, now.

I've reached the bottom step.

Perhaps I'll take a step back up?

No, no - it's too late.

(I've been found.)

They're commenting on

my angles

the way fabric falls off me

and these big eyes

sinking into my head.

The room is humming

with their questions,

or perhaps their disdain

for my silence.


They're leading me now

to a lace tablecloth

and intricately constructed little foods.

Strawberries in chocolate

scones, cream and jam

quiches and tarts

The air oozes with sweet smells.

But I cannot eat.

These gloves are suffocating

my fingers

(I can't dirty them.)

I'm peeling them off -

(I hope they don't see.)


They're gathered in clusters

burrowing into each other

in this sticky room

(It's so hot in here)

I want to rip off this

itchy lace dress

(but I won't)

Little girls

at my feet

slurp, then giggle.

And Grandma

perches at the head

of the table,


talking, talking, talking.

I'm sipping this tea

like she is

(as a breath between words)

I don't let on that it's

burning my throat.