The first man who shared my body after my husband left was thirty, never married; young enough to see in me something trouble-free. He worked hard: weeks of texting before I let him pour me a glass of wine. As he undressed me I asked, what do you see? and he chose to compliment a shoulder, a thigh; not my stretch-marked belly nor my breasts, drooped with age...until I realized he had never met a bowlful of bees, fig-pollen heavy, a tear-dropped plum with a center a thousand drone strong, and ready to fizz and just like that I squirted an arc of honey like an alabaster wave above the bed—mine to harvest, mine alone to take back to the hive. After we dressed, the young man piled the bedding into a bag and asked me to throw it in the dumpster on my way out. And I did. Not unhappily. I was tended, after all, overfull with the knowledge that my old body would still manage magical things; I laid that bag next to empty pop bottles and rotting fruit that buzzed—still—with bees.
collection Salaam of Birds won the 2018 Patricia Bibby First Book Award and was published by Tebot Bach in 2020. She is also the author of the chapbook What the Light Reveals (Tebot Bach, 2014, winner of The Clockwork Prize). Her work has appeared in Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, Grist, and Georgia Review, as well as other publications and anthologies. Her awards include the Crab Orchard Review Richard Peterson Prize, the Passenger Poetry Prize, and nominations for The Pushcart Prize.
Currently a PhD candidate at The University of Southern California, Rachel is also editor of the work-in-progress Stained: An Anthology of Writing About Menstruation for The Aunt Flo Project.
Author’s website: http://rachelnevemidbar.com/
⚡ Rachel Neve-Midbar’s “White Flesh, Yellow Dust” and “Memorial”: two poems plus poet’s note re the latter, in Women’s Voices for Change (22 December 2019)
⚡ Writing as an Act of the Soul; an Interview with Rachel Neve-Midbar
by Adina Kopinsky in Tell Tell Poetry
(31 July 2020)
⚡ Traveling the Red Road: The Life of a Menstruant (5,777 words: nonfiction, plus author’s note) in The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought (Issue 16, Fall 2021)