October 3, 2012
No brain or lungs or blood
as such. Hard, waxy plates
hold bees together. A retractable tongue
takes nectar. The mouth-parts
can drink but can't bite.
Bees' not-quite hearts pump
bluish hemolymph. Bees have
short lives yet thousands
of eyes, each with a single lens,
some for color or motion,
others for shadows that fall
over the body. Bees see pictures
of a world a lot like ours.
They come from California
by way of the internet, truckloads
of bees heading north on Interstate 5.
Passersby join the convoy,
pressing against the screened sides
of wooden boxes, each box
stocked with sugar water and its own
new queen. Packaged and free,
the bees form black-and-gold clusters,
fiery and dark as distant stars.
Amanda Laughtland lives in the Seattle area and teaches English at Edmonds Community College. She has been writing poems about bees ever since her girlfriend started keeping honeybees in backyard last year. Her book of poems based on old postcards, Postcards to Box 464, was published by Bootstrap in 2010. She also operates Teeny Tiny Press, making little zines and handmade books and the occasional professionally printed book, too.