igor batenev
A Bee Will Visit 5,000 Flowers a Day
by Ranney Campbell

that sweet year’s rare drench stirred
tiny bright yellow petals so delicate
not the color
               named for, wild mustard,

and sticky invasive cane tangled
every bit of hills devoid defense
natural enemies and bees followed

to collect pollen and lie on my back
on granite, inundated in ten-thousand

buzzes unlike another experience
ever in my head vibrating a magnetic
                 in knowing they might
over and over
with home all those miles away
had gone alone so far
                                    off trail

swelled between stems whirling
                         the air black slashed
core droned

                              eyes closed

they would know I meant no harm

or that at least whatever inflicted
would leave me
with just a number of red welts
of venom
that soon enough would settle

PHOTO: Bee on wild mustard by Igor Batanev.

Campbell2022 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ranney Campbell is from St. Louis, Missouri, but lives in Southern California. Her chapbook, Pimp, is published by Arroyo Seco Press, and other work has appeared in Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Hummingbird: Magazine of the Short Poem, Third Wednesday, Eastern Iowa Review, ONE ART, Storm Cellar (forthcoming), and elsewhere.