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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.

from MezzaninesFind more by Matthew Olzmann at the library

Copyright © 2013 Matthew Olzmann
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Matthew Olzmann Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.