Origin Stories – Alfred Fournier

Origin Stories for May
Origin Story of “Warning!
    by Alfred Fournier

    Do not feed honey to infants under one year.
    They may give up the breast.
    They might sprout mandibles and gnaw
    the crib rail restlessly, fly from the window
    with a craving for wildflowers
    and forsake human form.

    And who can blame them?
    Distillation of floral nectar gathered
    in a million flights of drones, passed
    mouth to mouth—whole societies
    ordered around this purpose—to hover,
    to taste, to fly, pollen-laden legs
    dusting the air, trailing back to the hive.

    And isn’t this how humans began?
    Community and kin. Returning with food
    to nourish our young. Stories ‘round
    the firelight. Cherished home among
    rivers and plains, before we got the taste
    for nature as commerce.

    A memory this deep becomes a danger.
    Do not feed honey to your infant.
    They may become famished
    for a world long gone, waking up hungry
    in a place where nothing is sweet.

    First published in Gyroscope Review Summer Issue 21-3

Origin Stories – Warning!

I write early every day, but not before coffee. Bleary from sleep one morning, I noticed a bottle of honey next to the coffeemaker and read the warning label quoted in the first line of this poem. I had no inkling why it was a bad idea to feed honey to infants, so my poem started as a speculation on this topic. When I wrote the poem, we were about a year into the pandemic, and the news was witch’s brew of crazy weather events, wildfires, venomous politics, and social unrest. My mind went to a comparison between bee societies and human societies. I continue to wonder how humans, as natural beings who’ve evolved on this planet, have gone so far astray.


Alfred Fournier is a writer and community volunteer in Phoenix, Arizona. His poems have appeared in Gyroscope Review, Third Wednesday, The American Journal of Poetry, Welter, The Indianapolis Review, Hole in the Head Review, and elsewhere. He is a 2022 Pushcart nominee. His chapbook A Summons on the Wind is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Twitter: @AlfredFournier4.

Gyroscope Review Spring 2023 Issue Now Available

Previous Origin Stories

April 1 – Wanda Praisner

April 2 – Howard Lieberman

April 3 – L. Shapley Bassen

April 4 – Sharon Scholl

April 5 – Stellasue Lee

April 6 – Jeanne DeLarm

April 7 – Virginia Smith

April 8 – Patricia Ware

April 9 – Mary Makofske

April 10 – Ann Wallace

April 11 – Jessica Purdy

April 12 – Lakshman Bulusu

April 13 – Kim Malinowski

April 14 – Anita Pulier

April 15 – Martha Bordwell

April 16 – Anastasia Walker

April 17 – Annette Sisson

April 18 – Shaheen Dil

April 19 – Claudia Reder

April 20 – Cathy Thwing

April 21 – Sarah Snyder

April 22 – Susan Barry-Schultz

April 23 – Laurie Kuntz

April 24 – Maryann Hurtt

April 25 – Yvonne Zipter

April 26 – Jess Parker

April 27thKelly Sargent

April 28thRobbi Nester

April 29thLaurie Rosen

April 30thJames Penha

May 1stOisin Breen

May 2ndJennifer Shomburg Kanke

May 3rdKaren Paul Holmes

May 4thJudy Kronenfeld

May 5thJulie Weiss

May 6thNancy Botkin

May 7thJonathan Yungkans

May 8thGloria Parker

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