Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Living Hive

for Jordan Bantuelle, keeper of the urban farm


You have seen a bee face up close. The verbs fell away, the sky tore strips of wax paper. You heard the thrill of the bees, you felt the stings. Through the metal hexes of fence, your fingers caught. Sleeping, you hurtled in a Beethoven surge. The geometry of winter: an angle of dead bees. The secret honey in the cells of six. The smell of honey heals all wounds. White wax kisses them, seals. Still you hurt underneath. The stars really do have sharps. The sky black as bees’ eyes. You go on unforgiven. Hungry for honey, hungry for balm, hungry for wings.


Copyright © 2018 Rodger Kamenetz. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2018.


Rodger Kamenetz

Rodger Kamenetz is the author of six poetry collections, including To Die Next to You (Six Gallery Press, 2013) and The Lowercase Jew (Triquarterly, 2003), as well as the forthcoming collections Yonder (Diálogos, 2019) and Dream Logic (TO, 2020). He lives in New Orleans.

Date Published: 2018-07-01

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