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Midnight Hives

The harvest moon is six hours late
and I can’t catch up. Houses, fences,
cars dive into the dark like wrecked ships.
I gain my bearings— shadows move
through the field, corrupt ghosts
whose dirty hands drag the grass—
and listen for the hum of the bees.

Weeks I refused to be led here,
bound-less apprehension fueled excuses:
I fear the dark, the lumbering bears, the
abrupt silence of crickets like a pinprick,
blood rising to the surface of midnight.

I am told to close my eyes and walk, he strides
ahead, a drunk man bitten sober,
no stumbling over tree roots or rotting branches.
I map the distance to the outline of boxes,
greedy for the whirring I’d predicted and recognize
as soon as I am close enough: it is a life,
or death, an alien motor, a moon engine.

He demands I come closer, just smell them,
they won’t sting you, they know I’m here.
He is leaning down, his ear to a box, talking
to me, to the queen, his prayer thickening
their universe, but I can’t hear him—
they are droning in my head
like an incantation heard centuries ago—

I am shedding the moonlight, drinking the shadows,
rooting, growing, branching yellow flower heads,
smelling of earthy orgies,
feral and alive like the hot breath of birth:
the goldenrod, the bees.

Lisa Caloro teaches writing and poetry at a small community college in the Catskill Mountains. She also bar-tends on weeknights, which is more like teaching than one might imagine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jelly Bucket, The Chaffey Review, and Evening Street Review among other journals.

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