Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

From the Book of Scab

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

From the Book of Scab

Article excerpt

Dear Mom and Dad,

When they ship us out into the fields, someone immediately steps on a nest of sweat bees, and we all get stung. They send a retired nurse out to see if anyone's dying and the nurse smells like gin and menstrual blood. The nurse has her own bone saw and a pair of latex gloves she washes and dries on a loop of twine hanging from her belt. The nurse finds two boys and a girl swollen and wheezing and takes them back with her. The rest of us stay in the field, inching forward carefully.

My bee won't die. It suctions to my ear, a gray jewel pulsing. It tells me things about life underground, about life in a hive, about living dead. It tells me that it spent its entire life looking for me, and now I'm the one who gets to kill it. It tells me that the winters have gotten colder and the springs are wetter and drier and earlier and that tornadoes and blizzards and beetles are coming nearer, that the radiant devices make it hard to breed that its own mother died in a vat of paint and its hive can only find pollen in a few of the flowers. It tells me that everything we've ever heard about chemicals is entirely true. It tells me that I was born dead, too, it tells me that we have unidentified substances in our blood it tells me that unlike a bee, I'll die with my weapons intact, I'll die with a neat set of knives and a semiautomatic weapon stacked beside me, I'll die with a can of mace and a noose packed tightly in a bag, I'll die with someone interrupting me, I'll die with my face poised to open and speak I'll die with six varieties of meat in my freezer and no one to catch me. …

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