Joe says she is fine, his foxy lady, his melancholy baby. Mary wants more than life as a wife, sweeping up sawdust, tweezing splinters from scabby fingers. She wants to be wooed, to be lifted aloft with the power of song.
She follows the tired stream into a garden filled with fruit trees. Golden plums, blushing peaches fall into her hands. Ivory blossoms swarming with honey bees, drunk on nectar and sun, brush her sweaty calves. Mary stoops down to drink, to quench her constant thirst. Sorrows tumble out of her mouth.
Imagine honey bees, ancient insects whose job is to fertilize every flower, to keep the world humming, spinning along on its charted course. Honey bees ready to found a new hive, to crown a new queen.
Their scouts buzz close to examine this clumsy creature who stinks of rancid garlic, whose mouth is a quiver of sharp arrows. The bees wonder if words were invented because this being, with only two legs and under-developed wings, likes to complain.
Then they discover her ears, open, curling like flower petals. An easy entry into her body. A place to deposit pollen that will travel down beyond her heart to fertilize those waiting eggs and give birth to new words, a new language.
Imagine Mary in that starless summer evening, body dappled with patterns from the tangle of peach tree branches. Bees brushing her warm dark hair, tickling her ears. Depositing their pollen. Anointing her with their humming.
Imagine Mary, lifted aloft with insect song. A rhythmical pulsing, not only about her, but in her body. A split second of electric joy.
Is she willing to risk, to create, to sculpt a new face for her new soul? To risk awkward questions that will crop up between this ivory garden filled with fruit, that splintered town, those hands full of future promises?
Mary rises, shakes her shoulders, swings her hips to the rhythm of her humming crown.