The Place Beyond the Brambles
by Peter M. Ball
When last I saw you, my sweet, my love, you were shrunk to the size of Grandma's thimble and plucked from the porch by the bees of the forest. We heard your cries, your wild shrieks of delight, as they carried you to the place beyond the southern brambles. Listened, after, to the silence that followed, to the empty fields and the dark shadows beneath the trees where no bee remained to hum its evening song.
You've been gone now a five-month, and grandma does not remember you, nor does Jordy or Cousin Ferdinand or our dear, sweet Claudette. Whatever magic was used to shrink you, to make your final exit possible, has stolen your memories from those you once deemed close as family.
But I remember you, my sweet, my love, just as clearly as I remember your delighted squeal upon being taken aloft, just as I recall the tiny hymn of joy on your lips as you went where none of us can follow. I remember you just as clearly as the first day we met, when you emerged from the forest in your dress of black and gold, and we talked for hours and days on end, talked until you finally kissed me and declared that we would be lovers.
You tasted of honey that day, my love: so sweet; so sultry; so wild.
For those who prefer the technical term, you were taken by Aspis mellifera, the common honeybee. The Latin name fascinated you, the first time you heard it. You had me trace its genus for you, explain the origins of the word. Aspis: bee. Melli : honey. Ferre: to bear. They were named by Carolus Linnaeus in the eighteenth century, who later realized his mistake and tried to correct it.
In that respect, my sweet, my love, he is a smarter man than I.