The Birds and the Bees

February 25, 2008
By Julianne Oliver, Frisco, TX

About the old man’s hands on the young girl’s thigh—
her peaches ‘n cream skin discolored to a week-old velvety blue, and
his rough and withering palms buzzing with 60-something years of hate

which finds her so alluring.
And the birds and the bees do exist, but in the room on the other side of the house
where mommy lies on her side in an empty bed, dreaming up empty lives
while the old man stings again, his body pressed hard by time’s fierce hold,

and he, in turn, pressing hard into the little bird’s beak as she, in her youth, presses back.

Yet time has shown there is little anyone can do.

So the young girl cries salty tears that trickle down

to the blue floral-print comforter, a twisted mess of shame.
A shame which all her silent screams and all her silent years cannot restrain.
And if someone could have seen her then, if someone could have heard her warbled cries,

then they really would have known:
About the old man’s hands on the young girl’s thigh—
Oh, there are many different ways to die.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!