So you are 8 years old and have a head filled with golden curls and a stomach that only growls for grilled cheese // and your parents are still Gods. // It is the summer which means you only smell like chlorine and the sun has kissed your skin pink // you have fallen in love with adventure. // Your Gods have grown accustom to this now // they call everything an adventure // and they teach you how to love this earth whole. // you go to the forest of your backyard you stand next to the magnolia trees and swear you see a bear cub past the prickly pear cacti. // You come up with wild stories of tigers and magical plants and gardening // and tell yourself this is the only way to keep them alive. // you cut thorns off of roses and cut branches to help the hidden plants find the light that makes their magic. // You have gotten so entranced in the adventure you lose track of the branches // you cut the one with the beehive on it.  // When the beehive breaks the adventure stops // you try to reach for the home to try and piece it together // but your Gods only see stinger // they forget the family inside //they pick you up and hold you while you cry. //trying to tell you to not worry // that they will be able to rebuild on their own. // That the family is strong and property is abundant // but you have been taught to love this world whole to well. // You know that sometimes an outside force breaks our homes down // cuts them off branches //  uproots their love and leaves them broken on concrete. // You know that the person that breaks the home doesn’t stay around to know if it gets rebuilt. // They just leave. // When you are 22 you are that beehive, // you are the destroyer//  and the homeless.// You haven’t forgotten the first hive you broke // and are constantly shoving down the memories of how your house got broken too. //when you eat the beehive whole // when you take on the pain of every bee, // you don’t get to keep their stingers. // You become broken pieces flying away scared with no protection. // Your Gods they broke their own homes // and are trying to patch the walls with leftover honey // but it’s all gone bad. // They don’t remember the beehive//  so they wonder why one is in your chest // your mom cries when your heart pours out dead bees. //She wants to know why I didn’t move if I was being stung. // I try to tell her that I took down a family’s home // I never deserved to have mine. // She says it doesn’t work like that. //She keeps saying I deserve to have my own body //or beehive.// I tell her When I was 17 I told a boy about my beehive chest // and he didn’t understand // or maybe he did // but he had a stinger mouth that never let me say no. // He tore open my chest // took out my beehive and cracked it whole // force fed it back to me. I became just as broken as the bees were // and I can’t deal with the memories of either. She becomes a God again // holds me until I remember how to say // body // without shaking. // She comes to understand I have a beehive chest because when my Gods finally let go of me I ran back outside and built them a home out of the branches I cut down // I knew they wouldn’t use it but I wanted them to know that I watched the destruction I created and wanted forgiveness.//  She reminds me I was taught to love this world whole, // even the parts that sting, // even me.

– Kalena Thwaits