Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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My daughter can't sleep
for the vanishing bees.

She slumps in the dining room's
spindle-backed chair, lost

in the moon-slatted light
of the sloping yard. She can't sleep

as bees disappear from the pecan
groves of Georgia, from the blackberry

fields of Maine, from the pear
orchards of central China.

She turns from vibrating dreams
of bee-shadows and bee-shrouds,

as scientists parse the broken-
down machinery of bees,

their children in the front yards,
looping endless chains of clover.

Until the bees reappear,
lining up along the branches

of the linden, her story-laden tree.
They park there, fifty on one branch,

a hundred on another, a fleet
of tiny yellow trucks, idling

into oblivion. She knows
about compound eyes --

their seven thousand hexagonal
lenses. And the three ocelli built

into the top of the head -- she knows
how those tiny windows help

orchestrate the light: a million
shifting facets, a million dances

mapped into the air. The night
is filled with zithering, and a girl

who carries inside her a meadow
of violets, a sweet, quickening blur.

Ralph Black’s poems have appeared in the Carolina Quarterly, West Branch, and the Georgia and Gettysburg Reviews, among other journals. His first book, Turning Over the Earth, was published by Milkweed Editions. He teaches at SUNY Brockport, where he is Co-Director of the Brockport Writers Forum.

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