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Last sync:2023-03-09 07:45
Maya C. Popa reads her poem "The Bees Have Been Canceled".

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and poet Paige Lewis. Learn more:

Maya Popa:

Book: The Bees Have Been Canceled
Press: New Michigan Press

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Hi I'm Maya Popa.

I'm gonna be reading "The Bees Have Been Canceled" and I wrote this poem in 2014. I had just read an article about the dwindling numbers of bees and the first line of this poem kept playing over and over in my head and I was in graduate school and working at Poets & Writers magazine at the time and I think I spent the first hour of the day frantically scribbling down notes for this poem.

The Bees Have Been Canceled

Never again the humming, saddled flowers.  Never the
blind oath by a velveteen prisoner.  Never the yellow,
hula hooped in black, little engine left running late
into the darkness.  Oh, how they were charming, clever
monographs.  Sunlight couldn't save them from the angel
of extinction.  Virgil said they swell with nectar's tilted
knowledge.  I don't know what to believe.  Maybe they tired
of being addicts.  Clover honey, garbage honey, accidental
ice cream honey.  Ransomed stamen, sweet sinful, will-
do-anything-for honey.  Maybe they caught fevers at
midnight with no one there to hold their stingers, no fat
queen to press a cold compress.  How will we currency
honey from wildflowers, that liquid of languages?  How 
pollinate in the bees' electrostatic absence?  How will the
bell birds take it, the Canterbury birds?  Who will cast the 
last skeleton in amber  I'll miss the noise, the palimpsestic
clamor, soft shock of discovering a hive under your roof.
The lull as each integer walked its body over a blossom,
then flew away with its instructions.