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Helicoid Curve



Experiment I.

At 9:55 A.M., the bee arrived
with its burden of pollen. . . .
hovered, momentarily,
over the white rectangle. . . .
then, after making several turns
of a helicoid curve,
flew away.
—Charles H. Turner

Follow a bee’s small brightness.
Follow these bees (not yet crazed
or poisoned, or withered with mites)
and they will lead you to bare
ground pocked with ruptures
and hidden burrows,
to bodies circling above each other
in ring dances and reels: the mosh
of forms seeking other forms.

Join them, and you’ll see
that dance we call touch,
my hand in the small of your back,
the hover and circling of our words
their venom and sweetness.

Helicoid curve? Your hip—the curl
of it beneath my fingers. My lips rounding
the slope of your jaw.

Helicoid, a flight
around an axis, a spiral, a spinning,
a brown girl jumping,
flinging herself up, up.

Look at her face,
filled with bees. Examine
the chambered cell of her heart:
barbed stingers, wax to shape
into ten thousand candles.



Janice N. Harrington’s latest book of poetry is Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin (BOA Editions). She teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois.

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