Honeybee Sonnets


What did I want but a child’s settling in
to the hand holding her own? Jagged 
people fitting into other jagged people
for comfort first, until the key bangers and goodbye wavers
grip and the hand, this hand, blossoms out of fist.
Do you confront us or simply break in on us?
Years it’s taken me to unwrite the story of mourning,
written not by hand, but by stick to beat
the ground. I built the frames
and stocked the hives. I invited
you in. But now the bees are disappearing
and though I know my own life, feel it
gathering in the dark, wait, 
you say, just you wait.


I found I could rest only by moving: no wind        
but the air from a tire pump to keep me going
up and down the steep hills, here and back.
By dusk the foraying stain of a tree
swallowed one hill then another. 
I wanted to speak, earnestly
converse, but you would not
answer my arguments against you.

Invisible child, with night 
coming on, a body cold,
head streaming with bees from the hive
alight, tree gum sticks to your tongue
as you try to shape the rising
in the beech in its cycle of foliage.

        I write letters these days to everyone. – Paul Blackburn

I dream a dream as I climb a tree
bearded with a cloud of bees.
All night the swarm bears down on me,
a face I see but cannot see. 
Not memory, but honeybees,
each one clustered in a single cloud
like a mosaic. I’m sick and tired, I say aloud,
argue that I’m watching my own mind’s
electric charge, though another swarm’s forming
and by now bees dot my dream, streaming       
forth in a procession I know through the dark:
Ray and Jo and Evie and Bob and Anne and Mark
and Allen and Ginny and Cliff and Tom,
and Alice—you met her once—Steve’s mom.

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