“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

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.
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
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.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.