Lynn Ciesielski's most recent poem to appear here was Sunday Ride at Dusk (July 2013).
A Tip for Working With Bees
By Lynn Ciesielski
On his acreage, Dan built hives
using plans from a kit and tends
bees to share honey with neighbors.
I take up an invitation to watch,
climb into a poly-cotton jumpsuit,
don helmet and metal mask.
Still, I shrink to a speck when Dan
releases bees from frames.
Air hangs like a willow bough,
heavy with honey scent.
It coats the back of my throat.
Bees hum and circle, closer until
an electric razor whirrs in my ear.
There is a slight tickle on my arm.
I am still as the ground, remembering
mom's repeated warnings,
If you act all nervous,
you'll just get it going.
It stings anyway, falling off and dying.
The pain returns me to my first tetanus shot,
a fat needle sinking into my arm.
I walk away from the apiary, taking off the suit.
Dan shares a rule all bee-keepers know,
You must remove the stinger with the proper tool
any time you get stung.
Even with the enemy gone,
the poison still works outside.