The Hive

The Hive

For bumblebees it’s more of a nest,
a jumbled cluster of odd-shaped cells
and honey pots, all made from dark yellow
wax, like earwax or like extruded foam
insulation. All winter the disordered mess

of a half-finished construction project,
now ready to be retrofit into two cedar
raised beds—so I am cleaning
up back there, taking up the tarps
and throwing out shredded fiberglass,

and scraps of wood, a papery layer
of old leaves, screws and such,
and turning over the last
bits a buzzing: here are they
a small, primitive colony. The queen

is twice as big as the rest, her wings shivering,
some torpor shed, the drones start
to weave around my hand.
I gently set the covering back,
and from the wood I have,

cut eight or nine pieces about a forearm
in length to fashion a low, clumsy box
to quickly cover the hive. I think it
will block the rain as well
as any ark. It’s just us, I think,

and the bees, floating through the dark.
Sometimes I approach quietly,
hoping to hear the buzzing,
hoping we’re still
alive.


Benjamin Harnett is a poet, fiction writer, historian, and digital engineer. His poetry has appeared recently in Poet Lore, Saranac Review, ENTROPY, and the Evansville Review. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife Toni and their collection of eccentric pets. He works for The New York Times.

[image Bees on Honeycomb | Boba Jaglicic]

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