Carpenter Bee

by Alexandra Malouf


Little one lying in the crack of pavement:

exoskeleton of black,

wings like window-panes

glinting in soft light. I lift you white-fingered

from the ridge of ant dung, weeds, detritus––


into the warm hollow of hands

cracked by over-washing. You settle

like a street penny,

borne home to bumblebee fuzz,

black wasps,


shaved hornets

preserved in glass,

little jagged-limbed paintings––

so that when bees stop falling

I will still remember.


          Ruskin collected insects in bottles,

          shelved moths among books and flowers

          while the aroma of wild garlic bled into pages,


          into insect bodies and upholstery fibres.

          In his house I saw myself reflected:

          the compulsion to carry home the whole earth.


Oh, little one lying in the crack of pavement––

I find your body peppered by wind,

limbs strewn apart from thorax, split head,

the four wings like scattered glass. No one will notice.

Tomorrow you become part of the earth.

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