Fifteen [Poetry]

By Jessica Ratigan

And the bees return
to flower, brimming

with nectar from pistil
snaked for the Queen’s

royal jelly—workers drone
under the unlucky heel.

No more sleepy snow
brushed across the earth.

The light grows warmer,
a breeze wakes the hem

of my skirt. I drink whiskey
from a flask among flowers

—crocus, lilac, tulip, rose—
wanting the old wounds gone.


Jessica Ratigan received her MFA from New York University’s creative writing program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The Greensboro Review, Blackbird, and Hunger Mountain. Ratigan currently lives in Hampton, Virginia, where she teaches English and creative writing at Hampton High School.