Diane Lockward





Invective Against the Bumblebee


read by diane lockward



Escapee from a tight cell, yellow-streaked, 
sex-deprived sycophant to a queen,
you have dug divots in my yard
and like a squatter trespassed in my garage.

I despise you for you have swooped down
on my baby boy, harmless on a blanket of lawn,
his belly plumping through his orange stretch suit,
yellow hat over the fuzz of his head.
Though you mistook him for a sunflower, 
I do not exonerate you,
for he weeps in my arms, trembles, and drools,
finger swollen like a breakfast sausage.
Now my son knows pain.
Now he fears the grass.

Fat-assed insect! Perverse pedagogue! 
Henceforth, may flowers refuse to open for you.
May cats chase you in the garden.
I want you shellacked by rain, pecked by shrikes,
mauled by skunks, paralyzed by early frost.
May farmers douse your wings with pesticide.
May you never again taste the nectar 
of purple clover or honeysuckle.
May you pass by an oak tree just in time 
to be pissed on by a dog.

And tomorrow may you rest on my table 
as I peruse the paper. May you shake 
beneath the scarred face of a serial killer.
May you be crushed by the morning news.




The Fruitful Woman


read by diane lockward


Today I dress for you
in scarlet. I am
a tomato, plump
and luscious. I pulsate
with seeds.

Today I clothe myself
in yellow. I am
a peach, succulent
and ripe.

For you, I swathe myself
in gold—all melons, oranges,
tangerines, nectarines.

I am a garden of earthly delights.

I am the red apple
you would fall for
a thousand times.

I am the apricot you would die for.

I am all strawberries,
blueberries, raspberries,
and cherries, all these and more.

Today I am royal for you.
I dress in a gown
of purple plum.

Come, lift me out of my skin.






read by diane lockward


Tonight, on this darkest night of the year,
after a satisfying meal,
we will eat bocconi dolci.
We will not speak of sadness.
We will not remember.
The antique clock will stop tolling.
For once the chimes will be still.
For this one night only,
earth will defy gravity,
and turn the other way.
I will slice bocconi dolci,
place it on pale bone china.
We will be ravenous
for meringue, the three shells
piled on top of each other,
for the cream I whipped,
the ripe strawberries picked
from our garden. The buds
on our tongues will blossom
under delicate layers of chocolate.
And if the doorbell rings, we will not answer.
We will dance until we are dizzy.
We will dance as if we were young,
but quietly, quietly,
as if somewhere in the house
a small child slept,
a child who might be wakened by laughter.



The Fruitful Woman from Eve's Red Dress (Wind Publications, 2003)

Invective Against the Bumblebee and Anniversary from What Feeds Us (Wind Publications, 2006)






Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently, Temptation by Water (Wind Publications, 2010). Her poems have been published in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.