Golden Ripples. Photo by Stanley Zimny.

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“Beach at Corolla, NC” and “Bee Fall”

Beach at Corolla, NC

Inside the beached whale was a library
of what has gone wrong with the mismade world.
All the plastic jetsam in the Gulf Stream
swept up, sucked up along the wet highway
sifted and sorted through the fine baleen.
Whose hunger ended when the tall waves hurled
that body onto unforgiving sand?
The one rotting, picked by crabs and gulls,
left at last like a bony cathedral
or the grit-covered ones who came too late,
the gawkers, the much concerned, the readers
of the tangled strands left as at an altar—
an opened book, unwelcome sacrifice
at the ruined edge of winter’s paradise.


Bee Fall

Then the bees too tired to fly
began to land on our boat.
Singly at first, then in mass,
hail storm of golden bodies.
Wings attracting light like prisms,
like scattered mica. The lake
colored by refractions,
newly live, newly bee lit.

Could we become part of it,
this storm of bees, this gold pond?
Our slow paddle through bee fall
took us places we’ve not gone:
past bridges, sun’s failing light,
and song of life’s last long dream
where friends meet for last goodbyes.

Can goodbyes last past parting
or are they, like bees’ visits
to clover, intense moments
of working passion, nectar
searching, the sweet flight begun
soon after? Home to the hive.

But is the hive home? What calls
the bees isn’t the wet comb,
sweet center of nourishment,
pollen piled as proof of work
done by all toiling as one,

but yearning toward oneness
pulled the bee storm to our boat
as summer’s steam reformed clouds
made darker as each hour warmed.
Together for each other,

they left the hive for muggy
air. Their queen, somewhere among
the throb of flight, is ordered
by her wild disordered hoard

to lead their last pirouette,
their final sunset tribal
twist toward cold forgetting.

Above our boat, she was first
to look down, to make the fall.

First the beloved, then the all.