two bees and clover
Being Like Bees
by Darrell Petska

Costumed in a space suit, wielding a smoke pot
and pry bar, the beekeeper tore at our farmhouse—
Sis and I fretting the plight of our bees.

Within nestled the queen in her honey-castle,
among lacy-winged ladies-in-waiting, wooing suitors,
and couriers relating nectar news.

Great gloved hands uprooted the hive’s pulsing heart.
How we’d miss their sunny choruses, their lullabies
hummed inside the wall, inches from our ears.

What would they do without Mother’s flowers?
Would they starve without Father’s hay fields?
Sis and I had listened and heard: they needed the freedom

we enjoyed, sun-warmed and wind-sped
across our green bit of heaven just fence rows
removed from the perplexing world of grown-ups

like the gruff beekeeper shooing Sis and me back,
bribing us with chunky goodness from the queen’s rich store
as he brushed the last bees from the honeycomb.

There we sat munching, our concerns allayed
by reassurances regarding our bees’ new home
and golden honey drizzling down our chins.

So brief their stay, yet they’d sweetened our lives—
Sis and I leaned together, imagining our future akin to that
of honeybees: wherever life took us, we’d go there together.

PHOTO: Two bees and clover by Dariusz Kopestynski.

 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My sister, Shirley, died at age nine. I was eight. The bees came and were relocated the last full summer we shared together. Do the dead really ever go away? Perhaps that explains, a little, the honey jar always on my countertop.

Petska1 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Darrell Petska is a retired university engineering editor and 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee. His poetry and fiction can be found in 3rd Wednesday Magazine, Nixes Mate Review, Verse Virtual, Monterey Poetry Review, Orchards Poetry Journal, and widely elsewhere. Find links to his work at conservancies.wordpress.com. A father of five and grandfather of six, he lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife of more than 50 years.