The Bees

Photo: © Stefan Hengst. All rights reserved.

You argued beyond me and found it:
your pocket-sized jar of bees discussing
gently the news of the day or perhaps
the transfer from left hip pocket to right.

The jar of bees was pinging, pissed,
hoping you’d make a misstep.
“They’re not angry,” you told me. “Just anxious.”
You walked outside for a break.

You made me a mixtape, each song a lie
about me set to music I didn’t recognize.
The bees were impressed. You’d hate to let them down.
“I’d hate to let them out,” I said, “for that matter.”

You brought the jar of bees out to the movies
with us. Slipped them into your bra. I thought
your breasts were humming. I was prepared
to be happy if this were the actual case.

You woke that night to crescendoed knocks:
the bees having an orgy or making honey (same thing).
Had you dreamt again, you would’ve imagined a saw.
I thought, Don’t be fooled by its dullness.

It’s far more dangerous that way. False crackles
would whistle from the wood of the nightstand,
feigning a cut. You’d gather the splinters,
slip them into hiding behind the armoire.

This dog at the end of your alley would say,
“Come learn Hebrew,” though you’d already learned.
It was I who was impoverished, monolingual—
a lazy tongue eating candy all day.

By morning, this insect Molotov I’d lit
was revving, prepared to sting on command.
Sometimes they didn’t listen to you.
Sometimes you didn’t even unscrew the lid.

The jar of bees took in some needed sun.
We tossed it like a football in the yard,
grazing the laundry line for a field goal.
The glint of sunlit wings as they went over.

Kenneth J. Pruitt reads “The Bees”



Kenneth J. Pruitt is a teacher at heart and a diversity and inclusion professional for a living. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, he lives in South St. Louis City with his wife, Ashley. You can find him in the ether at his blog, Mots Justes, or on Twitter at @kennethjpruitt. He loves what you’ve done with your hair.




Appears In

Issue 2

2019 Print Issue

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