So the world turned
its one good eye

to watch the bees
take most of metaphor
                        with them.

                        in all their airborne
                                shifted on the breeze

for the last time. Of course,

the absence of bees
                                    left behind significant holes
in ecology. Less

            were the indelible holes
in poems, which would come

Our vast psychic habitat
shrunk. Nothing was

            like nectar
                                    for the gods

Nobody was warned by
a deep black dahlia, and nobody

grew like a weed.

Nobody felt spry as
                        a daisy, or blue
                        and princely
as a hyacinth; was lucid as
            a moon flower.            Nobody came home

                        and yelled   honey!   up the stairs,

And nothing in particular
by any other name would smell as sweet as—

the verbal dearth
that is always a main ripple of extinction.

The lexicon of wilds goes on nixing its descriptions.
Slimming its index of references
for what is

super as a rhubarb, and juicy
as a peach,
or sunken as a
comb and ancient as an alder tree, or
conifer, or beech, what is royal
as jelly, dark as a wintering

hive, toxic as the jessamine vine
who weeps the way a willow does,
silently as wax
burned in the land of milk and

all the strong words in poems,
they were once

smeared on the mandible of a bee.

Copyright © 2023 by RK Fauth. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 29, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.