VoiceCatcher Journal Header Image

Summer 2014: Young Voices

What the Bees Did to Me

By the time I had forgotten how to wake up without crusts of blood underneath my fingernails, I chose the needles. To this day, my mother tells this story with maternal pride: how I chose to see the allergist myself and what a smart, brave little girl I was at only six years old.

I knew vaguely what this doctor was going to do to me. He smiled down at me with big teeth with that smile-grimace that adults have when they do things for your own good. That didn’t comfort me, but I wanted to stop the bees crawling in my skin that kept me scratching all night. My favorite striped pajamas had extra long sleeves that my parents tied with hair ties before bed, using cloth to keep my nails at bay.

The nurse patiently explained it all to my mother, about the needles covered with bits of food that would enter my blood and my skin would grow red with hives if I were allergic. The pale hairs on my arms tingled as the nurse swabbed the lengths of my inner arms and I resisted the urge to drag my frenzied fingernails across the soft skin there. She asked, “Do you want to keep your eyes closed while I do this, sweetie?” I closed them, not wanting to see any more of my own blood. The first prick near my shoulder seared me with more white shock than pain, but I was six and I felt stupid. The hot tears started by the tenth or eleventh prick. Thirty-six needles in all. The second time I chose to visit the allergist, I felt the prickles in my eyes before I did on my arms.

* * *

I secretly hated plopping the same sandwich with the same square of cheese on my lunch tray every day. Tuna was off the list for me, they said. I memorized it because I was the only one who could remember (I learned that when my dad tried to feed me strawberry jam). I could only watch when the other kindergarteners gulped down their cups of milk. When they asked me why, eczema and allergy weren’t words they understood. They assumed I was a picky eater and my idea of vegetables was extraordinarily broad. I only knew that milk was bad, just for me, so I couldn’t drink it. These were the rules I was born under, but instead of leaving the table when seafood was served, I started to hold raw carrots up to my nose when my mother was cooking dinner. I could smell carrots, even if I couldn’t eat them.

I comforted myself with the thought of pink scars on my neck and in the creases of my elbows, fingers and knees. I loved looking at my back in the mirror when there were no stinging nail tracks to see. I was almost ready to get new pajamas. I was ready to tuck myself into a new skin.

My sister came back from a friend’s house, triumphant, and told my mother, “I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and breakfast! I wish I could eat them forever!”

I indulged myself with a slice of bread slathered thickly with honey. The bees raised me after all.

Previous Button   Next Button

Poetry Thumbnail Art   Prose Thumbnail Art   Artwork Thumbnail Art   Young Voices Thumbnail Art   Contributors Thumbnail Art

Sweet, evocative, haunting: Delight in 19 poems to please every palate.


What does it take to be a woman, sister, mother, child, lover and friend? Share the struggles six non-fiction writers have with these roles.


Five local artists, a variety of media, and new insights into our world. Enjoy the unique visions of these extraordinary women.

Young Voices

Savor the poetry and prose of five talented young authors whose voices you will want to hear again and again.


Meet the 25 authors and 5 artists whose voices and visions enliven the fifth edition of our journal.

Table of Contents Button


        Out of Eden by Melanie Green

        Under the Tongue by Cindy Stewart-Rinier

        it wasn’t the rain by Ann Sinclair

        And the King Was in the Counting House by Geraldine Foote

        Aurelia Aurita: Moon Jelly by Lois Rosen

        What Cape Alava Was Like Then by Linda Strever

        ʻAʻā by Burky Achilles

        Still Life With Cabbage by Margaret Chula

        Mother of the Drowned Child by Penelope Scambly Schott

        Summer, When Green Turns by Cindy Stewart-Rinier

        Relic by Jennifer Foreman

        From the yes column of “is there a god?” checklist by Jennifer Foreman

        Binders Full of Women by Shawn Aveningo

        Even in February Every Woman Wants to Be a Feast by Claudia Savage

        Weddings I Have Ruined by Tanya Jarvik

        Thicker Than Water by Claudia Savage

        Weekend Wayfarers by Elizabeth Stoessl

        Wordscape by Tanya Jarvik

        Talking Herself into Onward by Melanie Green


        Tribes by Thea Constantine

        Carnage by Heidi Beierle

        Owyhee Barbie by Marylynne Diggs

        Permeable Divide by Kamala Bremer

        Pepper Anderson Meets the Amazon by Linda Ferguson

        The Day I Stopped Typing by Kate Comings


        Brooke by Oriana Lewton-Leopold

        Elizabeth by Oriana Lewton-Leopold

        Silence Considered by Carole Murphy

        The Egg Sisters by Carole Murphy

        Garden Gate by Koka Filipovic

        Purple Shade in the Garden by Koka Filipovic

        Untitled with a Flamingo by Amy Robinson

        It's My Party by Amy Robinson


        A Work of Art by Leilani Garcia

        What the Bees Did to Me by Colette Au

        Things I never said by Molly Benson

        Wabi-Sabi by Janet Webster

        Foresters by Sophia Mautz