A colony has been moved from the loft
this morning, the rafters scraped clear
of their stash of sticky gold.
Brick-sized ingots drip into buckets,
bowls overflow. The girl who cleans knows
honey’s royal role in winter remedies
and how it keeps you young. Her grandma’s
skin is soft as a baby’s at eighty, she says.
Today, she’s straining and storing the harvest
for the bankers who bought the house
with the honey in it. They know nothing about it,
she says. Just sniff at the mess.
They know even less about her, the help,
and the man who’s followed her from Waterford,
erected a tent in their orchard.
How she trickles downstairs, slides into night,
belly brimming amber, trembling
to be touched, to be tasted.
How the tent walls billow,
how the orchard is flooded with light,
and the lovers are humming somewhere
outside of themselves, without names,
or addresses, on sweet rooty earth, where air
smells of honey musk, the heather in bloom.
By the end of the week, jars are sealed,
shelves stacked, tables scrubbed –
the kitchen reeks of Vim.
She is replete, still perfumed by him.
The bankers pay her to leave.
Cora Greenhill grew up in rural Ulster, mostly outdoors, escaping the turbulence of family life. She has lived in The Peak District for nearly 30 years. She studied literature at Warwick University, most memorably with tutor Germaine Greer, a lifelong inspiration. She’s had a long and varied teaching career, the high point of which came early, at The University of Nigeria just after the Biafran War.
Cora’s latest collection, Far From Kind is published by Pindrop Press. She self-published two collections and The Point of Waking came out with Oversteps Books in 2013. She hosts Writers in The Bath, the premier poetry reading venue in Sheffield!