We know gears are supposed to turn,
but we forget their teeth, that to pull
they must bite into another.
Last month, the workers at the axle factory
went on strike. Without the axle,
there is no car. Without the carloads
of workers at noon, the sandwich shop
down the block shuts its doors,
kills its lights. Behind the sandwich shop,
a dumpster fills with bees.
My wife is allergic to the stinger.
Lodged in human skin, the barb is lost
to the bee, and the bee must die.
And if enough of them fail again
to find the hive, that dies as well.
Copyright © 2013 Matthew Olzmann
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.