Because the bees flew toward light the color of honey, she couldn’t see them
but heard their hum, deep thrum of the colony come out of the hive, comb
dripping with loss and the smoke her father used to subdue, to pacify
the fear that might spur an attack. It wasn’t until her brother began to cry
that she noticed her hair was moving, undulating like water
easing from a rapids, alive with an energy she recognized
As the gentle buzzing of hundreds and hundreds of bees.
They swelled along the strands of her hair, remaking the small world
that floated in front of her eyes, as even more bees curled around her face.
She’d seen the woman at the fair who made a beard of bees
for the crowd of farmers and their families. She read about the love
and patience the woman told the newsman was necessary
As their legs and translucent wings crept and fluttered across
the tender flesh under the chin, fanning cheekbones, slipping
over the helix of the outer ear. Like earrings cut into the loveliest
shapes, with colors of burnished gold and copper,
the bees poured over the girl’s scalp, some finding their way down
the collarbone, onto arms and breasts, abdomens pulsing in time
to the electricity along the hind legs that captured the pollen
for the journey back to the hive. She found it impossible to hold still,
unless she thought of that bearded-bee woman, the affection
that transfixes the body as even more bees conceal the feet
and shins, the knees and thighs, until a girl vanishes, and in her place
a glistening, winged seraph takes to the sky.