Stuart lifts the metre lid and reveals a writhing pile of pupae. I watch them swarm and undulate while he takes the measure. ‘They don’t bite,’ or sting? ‘Natives are nice,’ he tells me. I wonder what it’s like to be a hive mind, would you even know you were dissatisfied unless the overbrain told you so? ‘The workers are all women,’ he says, finishing up, ‘and all the men are slaves.’ Stuart slides the lid in place amidst a cloud of buzzing curiosity. ‘I feel sorry for the queen though, all that control without the ability to abdicate.’
He leaves small pleasures upon my skin in incidental dental indent, artisanal marks in off kilter circles displaying the irregularity of his teeth and our love. I lean into the kinetics of it and trace the path it takes through my system, nervous at first, in turns excited, a small point of pain pierces me deeply, dances upon my spine and dives into my heart. I don’t say anything and watch him listen. ‘I know it,’ he says, and lays his lips as balm upon my every hurt. Intake of ephemera, output of certainty, my body responds to bonding.