What would you do with twenty kilograms of honey

From the six hives you’ve kept through the seasons?


You have no intent of bartering the bees’ patient work

In their perfect citadels of sweetness, serving only one

Queen at a time: the strongest, most fecund of stately

Females, sure of the purity in pollen & nectar, sipped

In gradations of color and fragrance from gardens

Surrounding her and feeding her city to fullness.


In last year’s spring you had a swarm that went

Up your neighbor’s pear tree and you had to prove

Your mettle at luring them back into your garden,

The plums just beginning to pluck their courage

To blossom again after seven long years of sleep.

This summer, you’ve picked juicy ripe plums.


What could you do with five baskets of them?

You can only eat so much or freeze them so long!


On my side of the world tonight, after the rains,

Stray honeybees wearing their striped yellow

And black suits buzzed around my study lamp

To dry their wings. They have been doing this

This entire monsoon season, leaving the hive

From the tamarind tree in my neighbor’s garden.


A friend, also a beekeeper, says this behavior tells

They’ve gone blind, old, & come to the warmth to die.

Now, what do I do with a boxful of dead bees?


Marjorie Evasco