Bees can remember human faces, but only if they are tricked into
thinking that we are strange flowers.

—Harper’s Magazine, April 2010

Knowing the smell
of beeswax, melted,
pressed, rolled, dripped
onto sheets of newsprint
and strewn about,
I spot the trick immediately.
“The smell is wrong,” I say,
and leave without the candles.

The babysitter
who one day stole our
parents’ engagement rings
didn’t melt into a puddle
like the Wicked Witch of the West.
How strange—later spotting her face
in the back of the ice cream truck,
her boyfriend selling popsicles.

While picking flowers
on a Sunday walk,
I always remembered Alice
and how it all started with
her weaving daisy crowns.
Just a white rabbit! And the
day gave way beneath her
feet—the garden and Dinah, vanished.

To my daughter
I will say: memorize
your phone number,
the exact squish of the sofa cushions,
your map of birthmarks.
The faces, some will blur with memory—
let them—while others peel away
leaving strange, unfamiliar flowers.

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