by Beverley Nadin

I’d only set out that afternoon to scout for bees.
Father kept an eye on the cows. With my two jam jars
down a bendy trail I tramped through dunes, far from the houses.
The broken hive had been empty my twelve years.

Waves seemed set to run and run, finding the pools.
Rocky upward sprays were let go by, like a blink is.
Dozing in a fishing boat was a hush-hush friend of mother’s –
he told me: bees need flowers. Kept saying it, flowers,

busy bees. Flowers are growing beyond the trees;
he pulled me by my wrist. Though there are many ways
to tell a thing, I can’t tell, not exactly. Something stirs
and words become a swarm – their stingy tails –

I took her steps, afraid for her, like me was
somewhere else. Black hair framed his big black eyes.
Sky was still. The buckles on my scuffed familiar shoes
looked new, or strange. I heard a zipper buzz;

he called me honey, queen honey bee; I noticed the breeze.
Connection felt distorted, wrong, like sighting in shallows
the flinching hoods of jellyfish, not meant for us. My knees
scratched on shells. I counted the squawks of gulls.

I don’t go near the sand, it is billions of hexagons…
at home I was sick. Mother’s curt slap hummed in my ears
when I said his name. My head is a maze; I wake among walls,
black and yellow, sometimes stripes sometimes