Learning the difference One day I killed a carpenter bee that was crawling on the driveway. It was crawling and I squished it with my shoe. Mom told me carpenters weren’t dangerous, not like the bee who stung my hand last summer. I tried to save the bee, blew on it, gave it water drops in case he was thirsty. I hadn’t known the carpenter bee wasn’t going to hurt me. I put him on the only branch of our crabapple tree that I could reach. A nice place in the shade. After a few minutes two other carpenter bees came looking for the one. They hovered in the air looking at it. I didn’t know bees could be so still like that. I put my hand out. Cupped the two carpenter bees in my palm so they wouldn’t have to work so hard to look. I hoped they’d sting me. I think it would have helped with the feeling in my stomach. I stood there with the bees in my hand until it was dark and the lightning bugs came out. My arm felt so heavy. The two bees finally flew away. Then, I put the broken one in my pocket. I didn’t want any more of them to know what I’d done. I keep the carpenter in my jewelry box next to my bed. I slip my bee under my pillow every night. I think if I wish hard enough the bee will fly away by morning. Centennial Park: Nashville, TN 2020 we were in my bed kissing and falling asleep but I woke up in a park in the middle was a pond a bush of flowers floating by the bank you were controlling the floating bush the bush was your hair the flowers were shiny hair clips you picked up at the store last week I couldn’t see your face but I could tell it was you because of the shiny clips I smiled and yelled your name instead of answering you began to sink your flowers peeling away from your hair bobbing among the ripples I felt sorry you did that sorry you felt you had to sink
I would have bought some bread or at least another bottle of wine until now I've only read poems about the end of the world and no one wrote about the toilet paper running out I thought it would be more dramatic more like a movie but this feels slow I heard somewhere that when you cook a lobster (or maybe a frog) you put it in a pot of cold water then turn on the stove the temperature will rise slowly enough that the lobster-frog won't realize you're killing it until it's already dead until now I thought the end would be noisier gunshots fire but I hear birds and the wind chimes my parents gave me maybe this is how it ends I thought it would be more romantic lovers heating canned vegetables by a fire at least we'd have each other I still have running water and my microwave still works I'm in the bedroom you're in the living room I pick up yoga and needle point go on walks everyone started walking again in circles around our houses looking for something to fix something to break so it can be fixed something else to think about other than lobsters
About the Author
Tori Thurmond is an MFA candidate at Eastern Washington University. She originates from Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has previously been published in Nashville Poet’s Quarterly and Tiny Seed Journal and has been accepted to several national conferences across the US. Her reading from Equinox, her working collection, won best in its section at the Student Scholars Symposium’s 2019 conference. Thurmond has plans to pursue a career teaching creative writing at the university level once she earns her MFA.