September, featured in the Dash Literary Journal

4 Oct

Airborne Honeydew HoneySeptember

by Nandini Nessa

On this day, August 1, 2001, our garden looks wilted and brown. The only drops of color are the green and pink aphids that linger on the leaves, stamens, sepals, petals, fruits. My lover shouts, it is pestilence! He is beating his chest, trying to make my daughter laugh. She ignores him and goes back to her book.

Foreboding settles as we devise ways to rid ourselves of the aphids.

Billions of descendants, a matriarchy of imagos, pupa, and winged adults. One point five times ten to the twenty-seventh power. The number of offspring, if they all live. Generation after generation hatched in an ungodly 41 days.

[parthenogenesis]

Today is terribly hot. I wonder if the caterpillars will die en route. I am afraid of crawling. I’d have preferred ladybugs, their natural enemy.

My lover says that caterpillars are fed the aphids by our garden ants. A co-dependent relationship.

[parthenogenis] [Greek: παρθένος = parthenos = virgin + γένεσις = genesis = creation]

I stir my iced tea. Honey coagulates in the cold, stupidly, I didn’t know that ‘til just now.

Two months a suburbanite. The city isn’t safe for raising children. The city isn’t safe, the city isn’t safe, I remind myself.

New York City Health Code, Section 161.01 bans keeping animals that are ”wild, ferocious, fierce, dangerous or naturally inclined to do harm.”

Airborne Honey Dew Honey! Imported from New Zealand! Malty, Earthy flavor! High in mineral content! Rich in oligosaccharides! 17.63oz!

“And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in (men’s) habitations…there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for mankind”

Surah al-Nahl, The Bees

Beekeeping is illegal. An offender could be fined up to $2,000. The city isn’t safe.

Honey-bun, sugar pop, hunny bunny, sweet ass, my lover sings, gingerly depositing the caterpillars into the soil. “This’ll kill off those buggers,” he says.

[parthenogenesis] [Females asexually reproducing] [this method existed alone from the beginning of life on Earth for many epochs]

Aphids secrete honeydew from their anuses on our rhododendrons, cranberry, blueberry, huckleberry. The bees collect nectar and honeydew.

Weaver says to Zee: “Don’t you want your aphid beer?” Zee replies “I can’t help it. I have a thing about drinking from the anus of another creature. Call me crazy.” My daughter laughs and laughs. Azteca is her favorite Ant.

An illustrious group of Antz: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, and Dan Akroyd. My favorite: Christopher Walken.

Does Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon include animated films?

Actor’s Bacon Number = number of degrees of separation he or she has from Kevin Bacon.

The caterpillars are weaving cocoons. They are getting fat full of aphids, which ants bring to them.

I miss the city. I miss my job. I take to reading Scripture and women’s magazines.

[parthenogenesis] [Females making females making females]

Rhododendron honey is toxic.

Book of Exodus: manna appeared each morning after the dew disappeared

Book of Numbers: manna arrived with as dew settled in the night

Man –hu?

I miss the autumnal city. I miss my daughter’s back-to-school-madness, replaced by this depressed ‘tween’ I don’t recognize.

In the 17th century, a woman manufactured a clear, tasteless, cosmetic product. She named The Manna of Saint Nicholas of Bari.. 600 men died. They were married to women using the product. Government investigations discovered that the cosmetic was primarily composed of arsenic.

We stand on the deck and embrace each other. He dips his paintbrush in honey and rubs it on my collarbone. I whisper, “Let’s go back home,” and he runs the brush over my mouth so that I shut up.

By nature, bees are wild. Bee allergies are a-life-or-death issue. They got no business in the city.

Toxic honey shock symptoms: dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting

I fall asleep. I cannot remember if we made love.

A blue butterfly crawls through the ant colony, shedding its cocoon. Crawling and crawling, until he is free.

Manna, miracle food of the Israelites. Allah sent down manna and quails.

Egyptian: menu. Aramaic: what is this? Arabic: Plant-lice.

Arabs had a way with words in those days.

Did manna really stop the Israelites from shitting all those months walking through the desert?

The aphids are dead. Grown butterflies have flown away upwards to the sun.

Fly, fly, fly. Turn, turn, turn. Burn, burn, burn.

The higher the Bacon number, the farther away from Kevin Bacon the actor is.

Sri Lankan Grace Ariyawimal: Bacon Number 7.

Manna, some speculate it is aphid honeydew crystallized. An ancient version of Golden Puffs, my daughter’s favorite cereal.

We will harvest our honey the second week of September. I pray the bees have steered clear of the rhododendron.

September, a hybrid fiction

September, a hybrid fiction

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