are these early bumblebees mating? no. they’re dying
of thirst I learn when I forget not to look anything up
until this long year of universal hallucination is done
with us. ready with eggs these queens wake from winter
with the first flowers. they must find nectar and nooks
for nests and while searching are at most forty minutes
from death. I might’ve known March was more desperate
than gentle despite the colors but this feels like more
bad news. wait, is this true? a bee that seems dead might be
revived with sugar water. so the next time you find one
on the ground looking as dead as anything could look
while still being whole do not lift her. do not carry her
in your palm and bury her in the shade saying you’re sorry
she died in sight of her beloved yellow. (and do not ever
take pride in such easy kindness.) no. hurry and mix
the sweet substitute (unless you keep some on hand
the way mom kept that cigarette only for the tobacco only
to draw the poison from stings) and offer it in a spoon placed
where she can drink without moving. can you imagine that?
can you imagine knowing what to do and then doing it?
Amy Bagwell’s recent work appears in New Ohio Review, High Shelf Press, where is the river, storySouth, Terminus Magazine, and Vallum: Contemporary Poetry.