The bee being one day gone. The hive being one day nearly empty. The queen and some small drones left behind or staid out of devotion. The sun shining hard at the crop. The bee-keeper’s forgetful hand caught in mid air by a tremor, by the century, by the hiccups in the nearby river. The sheen of sugar-syrup, the easy way it glides and sweetens, doing only what it can by design. The hungry bee, the thirsty bee. The buzz of wing on wing, the weight of the bee’s pinched body, the lightness of the pollen beaded in its hair. The day when suddenly you forget where it was you meant to go, home, where it is, where it ever was, and how to get there.
Édouard Manet, Gypsy with a Cigarette undated, oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 28 15/16 inches Princeton University Art Museum
Hand on hip and head propped on palm, arms V’d like wings toward only she knows where. The thick air blows one cool, thin breath ruffling her blouse draped like lust over her arms. Her eyes glint universal worry. The pale cigarette leaning from her peach lips is disappearing like the clear answer, the road home. The blue-pearl horse with a storm for an eye, a perked ear, awaits her weight, one heel jutting its side. He whispers to her as the ash falls, soft and sharp, grazing her skin.
The poet on the radio says he admires directness and avoids statements of emotion because they feel false. I feel annoyed seems to be both and, I promise, is true. The trees are indifferent and look less cold than us. The bus looks very cold. Its accordion torso plays itself quietly, weaving the salty metal ends through wet Boston air like a fish I surely, by a minute, won’t catch. Evening drifts predictably over my marriage, and it’s starless everywhere but in this room in this city.
In the last clouded sky you hold three tulips with two fingers. You say goodbye to the sun, you watch it creep below the water, the hills, the big boxy railroad car full of you-don’t-know-what. Three deer run past, almost at your feet, and you yell at them to stop, but they are wild and run faster, because you are wild too, just an animal standing upright, holding what you’re too poised to eat. Suddenly the heads of the tulips, the bright red mouths, are gone. Suddenly the clouds are eating the stems. Suddenly nothing is in your hand, cupped now in the shape of what it used to hold.
Laurin Becker Macios holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire, where she taught on fellowship, and was program director of Mass Poetry, a poetry outreach organization in Massachusetts, for nearly three years. She has just moved to NYC and is the new programs associate at Poetry Society of America. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Boxcar Poetry Review, The Pinch, Kindred, and elsewhere. More at laurinbeckermacios.com.