“The Secret Keeper” by Kerry Hammerton

They disturb her upper palate,
hover close to her throat, knock
against her teeth. Buzz and dart,
tickle the soft parts of her tongue.

They want her to open her mouth.
She presses her upper lip down,
edges lips between teeth and bites
hard. Later she’ll wrap her head

in gauze, gloved and booted, walk
through her garden and test the fullness
of her hives. When she finds an empty chamber
she’ll unwind the cloth

from her jaw and put her mouth
against the waxy comb. Her lips will part
and the secrets escape. Her reward?
a slur of honey across her lips.

She’ll have some respite. A few hours.
Maybe a night. If she is lucky – a few days.
The secrets always come back,
hairy bodies crammed into her mouth.

Her garden is teeming with hives.


Kerry Hammerton has an MA in Creative Writing (with distinction) from Rhodes University. She has published poetry in various South African and UK literary journals and anthologies, most recently Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books 2015). She has two collections  These are the lies I told you, (Modjaji 2010) and The Weather Report (2014). 

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