Poem from Slate: “The Bee”

Image source: http://thisgurllovesjune.blogspot.com

This week’s poem from Slate is entitled The Beewhich is something we won’t be seeing much of until the cold weather leaves these parts. This poem is written by Henri Cole and if you click through to the poem’s page on Slate, you’ll be able to hear Henri Cole actually read his poem. It’s a really awesome thing that Slate does to have the poets reading their actual work on the site, so I encourage you to check it out!

According to his page on Poets.org, Henri Cole has published several collections of poetry, including Blackbird and Wolf (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007)—which received the 2008  Lenore Marshall Poetry PrizeMiddle Earth (2003)—which received the 2004 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and The Marble Queen(1986). He has been awarded the Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin, the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship. He is also the recipient of several fellowships. He has held many teaching positions and been the artist-in-residence at various institutions, including Smith College, Reed College, Brandeis, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Beeby Henri Cole

For Jamaica Kincaid

There’s a Bee
dying slowly
outside my
window.
He/she

makes this awful
buzzing sound
which grows
longer as
the end nears,

I suppose.
The mysterious
process at work
within him/her
is disturbing,

like a warm
wet finger.
Usually,
when you hear
a Bee,

the sound dissipates
as the Bee
flies away,
but this is just constant,
so constant I think,

Maybe this Bee
is stupidly in love
with me.
Or the buzzing
is inside

my head
and will become,
over time,
a friend—
a new kind

that doesn’t go away,
even after lots of sex—
my ear canal
growing receptive,
like a hard bud

to light,
or a vulva
to the perfect
relation.
Would we know

each other,
I wonder,
if our eyes met across
a crowded room?
I did not expect

to meet this Bee.
What else
could love be
but lots of buzzing—
or hate?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s poem from Slate. Come back next week for another!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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