blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


PIVOT POINTS  |  Joshua Poteat

People Who'd Kill Me (Spain, 1939)

The beekeeper's daughter. With a sack full of bees.
She'll come in, quiet, from the orchards, figs in her shawl
and gather the bees from their white boxes.

And Professor Garcia, the music instructor. With bare hands.
In his empty house, he'll play his piano and each note
will be one of my fingers in a jar.

Maybe even Juan, with his pocket knife, but he was taken
by the police for carving Viva l'. . . into a fence and not telling them
how he would finish the sentence. He said there was no sentence
to begin with, then saluted them: Mierde! May you fall
into a nettle patch. May your children become dust.

He's the kind of guy who could kill you, and then drink a cup of rum,
or take a bath. It wouldn't bother him.

One morning he heard voices in the town well,
so he lowered four baby pigs and cut the rope.
Perfect. He was perfect in a way only he could be.
The type of perfect that makes you ache, that keeps you
awake at night, listening for the steam engine's gentle hiss
or the assassin's snores on the roof.

A loaf of stale bread for the pigs in the well. A pocket knife
in each of their bellies.
He would definitely kill me.
But she, oh she would kill me. And mean it.

Her father's white boxes of bees . . . I watched her bathe in the lake
beyond the hills: the evening light folded around her.
Yes. The evening light.

The fires in the potato fields folded into her,
and I tried to think of what love meant to me then,
if her nakedness was a chore I could finish and forget,
like combing the goats, stitching the horse's rump.

It hurts to say this. I took her blouse, the simple white one.

The hills opened up and I'd like to think the villages were quiet for miles.
Four buttons, one missing. I needed to smell what she couldn't give me:
the dark cup of her breasts, the slight nuzzle of her shoulder.
I wore that shirt under my own. I wasn't confused, just dying.
And she'll kill me for that, coming through the orchards,
barefoot, me asleep against a fence beside the road.

A sack of bees over my head. Simple and perfect.
A shirt of bees, breathing them in. The pain would be immense.
Professor Garcia weeping over his piano. Juan handing the assassin a pear.
I would want to die this way.


 People Who'd Kill Me 
(Spain, 1939)
 For the Aviaries
 Para las Jaula

   Notes and Acknowledgments
   Levis Reading Loop