Elegy for a Honey Bee

Soft, plump, wrapped in striped fur,
you lay small and still in my palm,
severed back end yet stuck
in the meat of my thumb

so unlike that svelte hard
shiny other one that landed
on my forearm the next June
while I ran away from the swarm,

whereupon, pumping my arms,
I crushed her against my skin, unaware.
She would, I know, have done me more wrong
than that if she could – if I hadn’t first, ere her.

That day in my mom’s van,
after the tweezers had pulled
from my flesh what was left of you,
there was a white welt centered

by a tiny black dot. My hand throbbed
with your venom – still aches
for all the sweetness you’d have made
that the world will never taste.

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