How to Be a Woman

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Honeybees will sting when stepped on. Honeybees will sting when swatted at. Honeybees will sting when shaken in your cupped-together hands. Honey bees will die when they sting a human. We, of course, see ourselves as no threat to the buzzing twinkle-toes around the flowers, humming as if happy, happy as if when they finally return to their hives after lazily flitting about drunk on sunshine, a different form of moonshine, they will find their own baby bees waiting. But when they arrive, the honeyed workers remember they are solely unfertile females whose job, whose duty it is, to forever protect the hive. Protect the Queen Bee. Protect the only one of them who will have children. Protect the one who will kill their brothers and lovers with a last seductive kiss after mating. For there are no fathers in this world, their hive is stuck the way we were in WWII. Rosie the Riveters rising with the sun to work the flowers, mending, tending, protecting a family of sisters and on a good flower pedal they dance, they waggle, they spin into eternity, they are calling all the other Betsys and Wilmas, Francies and Mables, Sallys and Esthers, to come and take a good hard look at all the flowers they found, pollen, wax, honey; no babies.

But I humanize them. I treat them as if they have thoughts. As if they have feelings. As if they care whether or not they have babies. As if they aren’t the size of one of our eyes, of our pinky toe. Pinky toes flying about being pushed by the summer breeze towards, you, a human, who screams, and screams, and screams, arms flailing at this arthropod, this insect, this buzzing shell, this killer. So the honeybee stings. Well, you swatted at it didn’t you? What did you expect? And as it dies, the day’s pollen not yet delivered to its nest, you walk in your testosterone filled business shoes over to the mirror and pretend not to cry at your bloated cheek. Nobody looks at the honeybee. Nobody wonders why, when it wriggles, that maybe it is out of pain. Nobody wonders if maybe it’s just one last waggle dance. Nobody wonders at all.





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