Victoria Gatehouse

Victoria Gatehouse is a poet and researcher. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies and have featured on BBC Radio. Competition wins include Iklley, Otley, PENfro and the Indigo International Wild Nature Poetry Award. Victoria’s second pamphlet, The Mechanics of Love, published by smith|doorstop, was selected as a Laureate’s Choice in 2019.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

The doctor says it’s nothing serious, something
she’ll just have to live with, a malfunction
of the nerves perhaps, not uncommon in women of her age
and she leaves with a script for a mild antidepressant,
a leaflet counselling moderation in alcohol, tobacco
and spicy foods and when she returns, he says it again
after taking a look at lips, teeth and tongue –
nothing to see and he says it with a smile when she can feel
the bees humming in her blood, the tips of their wings
chafing artery walls and she knows without being told
they’re house bees, the ones who feed, clean
and ventilate the hive, pack nectar into the comb
without really tasting it, the ones who wait for mid-life
to take their first orientation flights and she can really
feel the smart of them, the bees in her blood, unfurling
their proboscises to touch the corolla of her heart.
So many years spent licking out hives, all the burn of it
here on her tongue and they’re starting to forage now,
to suck sweetness into their honey stomachs, and the doctor
he’ll keep telling her it’s nothing when they’re rising
like stings, the words she’s kept in.

Victoria Gatehouse

Poem published in Mslexia

The Mechanics of Love, 2019, smith|doorstop
Light After Light, 2018, Valley Press

e-mail Victoria Gatehouse

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet