They build boxes upon boxes, great honeycomb cities. Rumbling
trucks deliver parcels of pollen. Pretzel vendors leave good luck
trails of salt along the sidewalks. Busy taxi cab tongues lick up
passengers talking into their phones. Crowds cross lines
of the grid, commanded by the flashing white man
on every corner. Rows of veterans lean along the walls,
missing wings they lost in the war. The boys have dyed
their yellow stripes black, applied eyeliner, given into the sting.
Designer ads cover everything up, fashion queens three stories tall.
Landlords ask for money. Messengers ride bikes. Poets drape words
around their waists like skirts, hover above subway grates
for the wind to blow them up. Cleaning crews work
unnoticed. Anxious wives buzz in their cells tending the world
wide web, drinking nectar to forget. The hives used to reach the sky.
Children hear stories about how they all fell down.
The elderly are the only ones who believe in Beekeepers
now. Churches fill for funerals and little else. Everyone mourns.
In their beds, lovers cling to the final moments of fatal matings.
Girls with hips and tambourines keep the beat.
Honey drips between their legs.
Used by permission.
Carolee Sherwood is a painter, mixed media artist and poet living in downtown Albany, New York. She has roots in Northern Maine, where she was born and raised, and in West Virginia where she received a degree in journalism. Her training in storytelling and careful observation came at the knee of her writer grandfather, a truck driver with a quick wit. She is raising three bold sons, ages 12, 10 and 8.
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