Saturday, August 08, 2015

Their Queen Grew Fat

This small structure between the trees is our very own beehive. 
Our first queen failed early;her replacement seems 
to be working out well. The hive was built by a friend
and has an interesting structure--instead of box-shaped combs, the honey
hangs from suspended sticks of wood in single sheets.
I couldn't resist this honey-poem in The New Yorker that just came.

Dumpster Honey

The bees were working the contents
of the fenced-in metal trash bin,
zigging and scribbling past the goo

of candy wrappers and the sticky rims
of dented cans, entering, as they might
a blossom, the ketchup-smeared burger

boxes and the mold-fuzzed, half-eaten
fruity snack packs, those food-grade waxes
mingling with Band-Aids and a limp

“We’re #1” foam finger while on top
of the disposable wet mop redolent of solvents
and fresheners the F.D.&C. Red No. 40

nontoxic food pigment leaked
from a bloated dip packet where the bees
were buzzing and collecting the high-fructose

corn nectars of that uncompacted jumble
and returning, smudged with the dust
of industrial pollens, to, perhaps, some

rusted tailpipe hive where their queen
grew fat on the froth of artificial sweeteners
out back of the little oily gas station

in the middle of Arkansas where we pulled off
to change the baby’s diaper and had to ask
for the key they kept on a giant ring.

Davis McCombs
The New Yorker, August 3, 2015, page 26.

The author of this poem teaches at the University of Arkansas. 
In a press release from the University, he talks about 
the genesis of this poem. It was interesting to me how he 
combined other materials to make a richer poem. I like the 
three-line stanza form--since there is so much specific detail 
in this poem, a simpler structure like this keeps the reader 
from being overwhelmed.

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