Sleeping Beneath the Bees


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I shut out the world

for a short while

as I sleep beneath the bees

in the small, sloped bed

where my husband slept as a child.

They sung to him all those years ago.

Which means the hive has survived

for forty years or more.


This small room was once a chicken coop

strewn with hay and lined with wooden nesting boxes.

Eggs every morning, gifted with a chorus of “errs” and “tucks.”

Duck! your head on the way in and out.

Combed into the space

between the wooden ceiling planks

and the terra-cotta roof tiles

are hundreds of honey bees

hived in the gables.


As I listen to their busy work

I wonder who first tasted their nectar,

piercing the sealed tomb of curiosity

to coat the tongue with the gold of flowers.

The bees have kept us alive for millions of years.

I can feel their call to the center of seduction,

their delicately powdered legs, lazy on the wind

feathering towards the queen.


I pull the small, love-worn blanket up to my chin

knees curled to chest, a child again,

and breathe in the old hay smell

preserved behind layers

of lime wash and time.


There are dishes in the sink,

worries to sift through and a world to consider,

bruised and breaking apart.

But for a short while, I listen to the hum of the old hen house

as the residents of the secret apiary

work to gather me up.


© 2015, Ellen Rowland





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