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 tuiles
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