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Bee Sting

With bees, it isn’t the sting itself

but the unprovoked attack

that lingers.

How unfair to walk unwary, barefoot

on hot concrete, simply

pleasuring your feet,

or stepping down on a beach towel

only to be assaulted by the small plot

of something you meant no harm to.

That first pain is learned the hard way:

at five, you call

all-y, all-y, all come free

singing blind into a hive

hidden in the swing-set’s pole, then fall

what seemed the longest

fall; a cloud of bees flowered from your lips.

And later, put to bed with ice

and ointments melting over

the welts that covered you,

there was no explaining the bees’

behavior, no way to comprehend the reason

in their rage. You may never understand

this: the will behind the stinger,

a certain, fatal anger to survive.

from InfantaFind it in the library

Copyright © 1995 Erin Belieu
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Erin Belieu Poems

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