Sinéad Keegan is a writer and creative writing lecturer at Kingston University. She also teaches in her local community. She has an MFA in creative writing and is currently writing her first novel. Her short stories and poetry and have been published in several magazines and she blogs at www.sineadkeegan.com. She is the co-founder and co-editor of the literary and arts publication, all the sins, which can be found at www.allthesins.co.uk.
We dip our toes like gymnasts
on our stone wall balance beam
stick our landings on the sidewalk
we jump five-gallon buckets
rollerblade wheels grind
elbows scraping tarmac
we play Olden Days
Laura Ingalls Wilder at our side
traversing the Rockies of discarded concrete slabs
we dare each other
to ring the bell of the nuns’ house
of the house where men visit
we wear black
chase around parked cars
flashlights flicking across the burnt grass
we lie on sun-warm ground
the Big Dipper is the only constellation
we know it will be there forever.
My father keeps bees in the city
next to the pear tree
where we buried the cat.
The tree has been dying
since it was planted. It has never born fruit
and so we argue about whether it doesn’t bear
pears or plums.
The cottage where he was born
had hives amongst the cooking apple trees.
He has always loved the workers
dancing the path to nectar
traveling miles on crepe wings
dusting their bodies with the powder
of apple blossoms, lupins and the purple bog heather.
The first time he was stung
he put his lips to the red welt on his arm
sucked the venom from the blister.
It slipped down his throat leaving a trail
of constricting muscles
swollen tissue. Still he calls a ski jacket
protection and even under the hot,
American, summer sun brings his bees
sugar water. Smoker in hand he ducks under
the branches without blossoms.