Usually, it’s the males. Maybe
they’ve gone out with buddies
in their leks, keeping their radar
tuned for female bees as they move
from sweet pea to mallow flower and
snapdragon, gathering pollen
in those hairy saddlebags called
corbiculae. Maybe they have
no place to return or are lost,
having gone too far from the nest.
Maybe the empty football fields
and elementary school playgrounds,
long unmowed since our common
isolation and teeming now
with yellow dandelions, proved
too much. Sweet alyssum,
phlox; wisteria cascading heavy
out of themselves. Honeysuckle
and evening-scented stock,
dianthus crowned with hint
of cinnamon and smoky clove.
Female bees will also burrow
deep inside the shade of a squash
flower: the closer to the source
of nectar, the warmer and more
quilt-like the air. In the cool
hours of morning, look closely
for the slight but tell-tale
trembling in each flower cup:
there, a body dropped mid-flight,
mid-thought. How we all retreat
behind some folded screen as work
or the world presses in too
soon, too close, too much.

Copyright © Luisa A. Igloria. This poem was originally published by Digging Press. Used with permission of the author.