(from Pomegranate: a tale of remembering)

Across the courtyard a narrow pathway to the horti* blooming leafy green with rows of beans and cabbage, a gateway into the orchard, olives gleaming plump in the sun, ducking under leaves brushing our skin, running now on the hillside, trees loaded with bursting figs.

When Suli runs her robes fly behind her like wings. She waves the magic wand they gave her after the lustration; thyrsus, to remember our revelry and devotion. I left mine on our bed.

Suli circles me, buzzing. She takes a corner of my robe between her fingers, whips it over my head, secures it beneath my olive wreath. No-one will sting you but me, she says and kisses me through the golden cloth.

Our honey tree is in sight now, a hollow oak. We slow our hearts in a cautious approach. Columns of bees rise above us. They swarm and cluster, forming a mass where two limbs divide, throbbing. I drop to the ground and slither, cool grass on my belly, hips pressing the soft earth. I hear Suli’s breath as she wraps her hands in soft cloth and pulls the honeycomb. I hold my bowl under dripping wax, gathering in a thick stream. Bees circle our heads and rub their fuzzy, pollen-filled legs against our skin, tickling. When my bowl is brimming, Suli turns, oh so slowly, and yes, slowly replaces the comb deep in the body of the tree.

We steal away, hands cradling our golden bowl of honey.

*vegetable garden