3 poems by Tamiko Beyer – The Feminist Wire

3 poems by Tamiko Beyer

Water stilled is not a dying sound


One bee clambers into a rose, then another—together they bump and buzz the bloom heavy with pollen and pollen collectors. Legs swollen sacks of sweet. I lumber their shape against my tongue, all desire in my bumble body. Under the sun’s eye, I am a shadow that smells like tidal river—mud and decay—cast on granite, my arms thin and featherless, while a kingfisher dives into the river, swallows a fish, leaps back to its branch, shakes out its feathers and cries.


A victory cry?

Impossible conundrum

to name, not-name.


Like this surge in my limbs at the osprey’s flight and the crow’s pursuit out of the woods of turkey and turkey buzzard. Like memory: bald scavenger watching a seagull’s easy dip into water to suck down a crab. The turkey buzzard stared and stared but would not go near, would not touch the water. Did it long? And for what? Its unblinking eyes a language we could not decipher despite our minds’ fanatical translations. It demanded our attention and we gave.


I swim in morning’s

light. I long for your face

waking in its waves.


I want to believe the smell of rosemary is wisdom and I possess a rigorous mind, but I am bumbling against the bloom of day as the river carries geese down the current. At the end of spring we watched three goslings hop out of a parent’s wing, peck at the grass, paddle out in the river: small creatures of barely feather. Now, at summer’s folding, two grow out of their gangle, the third a ghost-egg, a featherless space I occupy. Do they?


The bee’s thinnest fur—

eyelashes to catch the dust,

refract the sun’s glare







No Art

When your appetite got lost

I found

my mastery.

After loose change, car keys, the cat –

I gave you a cupful of earrings
without mates,

a drawer of left-handed mittens.
I lost your number

and the punch line to your favorite joke.

Then I bet

on Nowhere To Hide –

and there went your bank account.

Good thing I lost your credit card too.

I lost the scar across your chest:

familiar bump now flat

I lost your memory

of our first

make-out session,
then I lost your kid in the grocery store.
She’ll turn up one day, a failed
revolutionary, grasping your grandmother’s recipes.
I’ve lost your voice,

your train of thought,

lost your eyes

so you can’t see me take

the late evening light

and put it back into your pocket.

We’re on a boat now,

a raft, really.
The water’s very bright
and stretches out

a long while.


Femme Body Bop (Become)





Into and entered I bend,

just-discernible shape.

Features something to comment on: eyes small, small

nose, the mole on the left breast.

Was a body.





Streetlights trembled

as we marched back the night

trembled! we were so fucking fierce.

But couldn’t shake

my traitorous

yearning for pink

eyelet smock.

Where under lights

could there be and also?

The stunning curve?



I painted my face

in a lovely

fuck you.





Become body. It was full-limbed and pliant.

Sometimes, it betrayed me.

Other times, it leaps into fire. It becomes foolish

to say body/self as if separate.

My hand shields against sun. In the ocean,

in the wash fantastic. Body in water, the buoyancy.


Flesh happens, fast and unnameable. Can’t explain

how time opens like sex. Was a body, became body.

A full-blown moon-shine of sexy, fast to slick and lap

salt tides and tender. No need for explanation.







Sweet-flesh and breast, my wrist says

woman. And the back of my knees say desire.

And my face says beauty, beauty, beauty. I choose

seven brushes, each with its own task –

sweep and buff. Glow.

And your lips say

yes to want’s whole and my fist

curls around the ribbon, grosgrain shimmer. We birth this:


femme in a marvelously glittered bed.

Femme in a marvelously bedded girl – all the way in,

and the vibrator. And the porn on TV.

And push-up bra on the floor.

See this trembling. Come

so hard mascara smears

butter-soft sheets – come so hard I cry.






The wet tips. She finds

my cunt I find hers, but she does not sleep through the night.

The genders shift, restless in the sheets. They kick their feet

and four a.m. arrives. We exhaust in our definitions. Body

in multiple iterations, prounouns unpronounceable.


I have waded so far into this moment of sex –

can hold on, perhaps forever. I do not become

an anymore girl. I become feather, become spike.




Published in PANK, Queer Two, 2011


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental (Alice James Books, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award) andbough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Volta, Tupelo Quarterly, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. She lives in a former chocolate factory, next to the Neponset River in Dorchester, MA. Find her online at