“The Bee”

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 15 2013 8:44 AM

“The Bee”

Pink flower.

Photograph by Susan Unterberg.

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Henri Cole read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

                                                                          For Jamaica Kincaid

There’s a Bee
dying slowly
outside my
window.
He/she

makes this awful
buzzing sound
which grows
longer as
the end nears,

I suppose.
The mysterious
process at work
within him/her
is disturbing,

like a warm
wet finger.
Usually,
when you hear
a Bee,

the sound dissipates
as the Bee
flies away,
but this is just constant,
so constant I think,

Maybe this Bee
is stupidly in love
with me.
Or the buzzing
is inside

my head
and will become,
over time,
a friend—
a new kind

that doesn’t go away,
even after lots of sex—
my ear canal
growing receptive,
like a hard bud

to light,
or a vulva
to the perfect
relation.
Would we know

each other,
I wonder,
if our eyes met across
a crowded room?
I did not expect

to meet this Bee.
What else
could love be
but lots of buzzing—
or hate? 

For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click here. Click here to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 18 2014 6:52 PM Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters  Colorado Democrats and Republicans are testing theories for reaching women that will resonate far beyond the Rocky Mountains.  
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.