Saturday Poem

To the Person(s) Who Drowned Beehives
and set others on Fire, Killing 6000,000 Bees

When I was a kid, wild bees swarmed a plum tree
on Dad’s property. From our picture window,
I marveled at the hive pulsing, growing larger. Dad told me,
Don’t throw rocks at the beehive. He didn’t say, Leave
the hive alone. Look at it, but don’t bother the bees.

Dad anticipated me at my worst. I speculated about my ability
to outrun rock-stunned, furious bees. I thought I could,
but didn’t throw a rock. Wary of the righteous sting
of Dad’s meted-out punishments, I didn’t drown the hive,
or set fire to it, either. Dad called a local beekeeper
to give the swarm a new home. I remember Jim Buchan,
helmet-veil shielding his face and neck. In a bee suit,
smoker swaying in one hand like a censer. I remember
his calm, his respect, his devotion akin to love.
In a moment, bees filled our sky, were everywhere.
I remember wonder, and honeycomb oozing amber liquid
made from nectar gathered in Dad’s bloom-crazy yard.
I remember my bee-sweet teeth, satiated for once.

by Andrew Shattuck McBride
from Empty Mirror