Post Road Magazine #8

Device for Burning Bees and Sugar by Mark Wunderlich

It marks a grave.

Touch the sugar to your lips, ensuring its consistency, the amber pearl.

In the pan of hammered copper.

Collect the bees keeping in mind that on chill days or in fog, the hive remains sluggish. Wild bees offer distinct features, favoring thistle and columbine. Domestic bees are more still with essence of apple and clover bloom.

Release them from their trap into a bell jar. Fifty or sixty bees should suffice.

(Last night, the spring dream—finches beating the bars at the window, light mist.)

In the clearing, build a fire of dogwood and dung. A slow flame is required.

Prepare your text. Before you, many have come. Accordingly, the site you choose may well be a grave. Bodies pushed into the soil; bodies pushing up through the soil. Your text will be the needle point of remembrance. Belt this to your waist with the kidskin harness.

On the appointed morning bathe in water floated with white carnations.

Do this to satisfy the ghost.

Off and off and off.

As you read your text, the shadows will swell.

Release the bees one by one, feeding them into the device. As they touch the surface of the pan, the smoke will become a garment around you. In your hive of smoke, a calm will settle.

Inside you, a field will open outward.

The dead and their whispers cannot find you there

in a world of burning light and pollen •

Mark Wunderlich is the author of The Anchorage, and his second poetry collection, Voluntary Servitude, will be published in fall 2004 by Graywolf Press. He lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

 Copyright © 2016 | Post Road Magazine | All Rights Reserved