September 2019

Back to Issue 6

The Arrival of the Native Bee Box

By B.R. Dionysius

after Sylvia Plath



I did not order them, as if you could own

something that only takes notice of the sun.

Maybe flowers believe they have some rights

over their case; they use each other for sex,

so very meaningless, this sticky addiction.


Ed scoped our house for their redeployment.

He’d split his hives, divided them like identical

cells. Our front yard was too risky; these boxes

flogged, fetch five hundred dollars on the black

honey market. Theft, a drudgy human invention.


He decided on a corner of our back garden,

but not at tree level as I’d thought, but propped

up on bricks as if developing a slum. Turns out

they’re not picky, this miniaturized murmuration.

Moving in with us was their collective idea.


They might produce one comb of honey a year,

where herbees would produce five or six having

blonde wood & dark rings around their abdomens;

the painted nose of a fighter plane. Ours are black,

stingless, fruit-fly size as if nature forgot to arm


them when she gave out orders, reliant on hand

to hand combat if any invasion should break-out.

I’m worried that our cat, bear-size to them might

try it on, fascinated by their tiny spawning; for he

was at the meeting when Ed first outlined his plan.


I wonder if our flowers will do the trick; I planted

native grasses & shrubs for the honeyeaters foremost,

those galaxy travelers. I never considered those light

consumers, who never leave their own solar system

so powerful the pull of their brood’s black hole.


They might do well here. I have no suit, no veil.

I’m not a threat. I don’t want their honey. We keep

the cat inside, mostly. Their freedom is not up to me.

I’ll watch out for wasps, ill-directed punts, the drone

of high-school students smoking bongs next door.


The box could be pure poetry.