The Bees & Two More Poems

The Bees

The bushes are alive with bees,
Like clockwork they fly from clover patch to shrub.
Their restlessness is a challenge, but
For now, when the month is almost over,
After so much labor
They are only to watch
Like an object of devotion, a knack for transcendence.
The tree I wrote about earlier,
Watched its likeness fall into a neighbor’s house
Only to be cut down itself.
The birds scattered to new homes, they feast on the bees.
As Sappho knew, only bad lovers
Expect sweetness without the sting.
They perch and burrow and twitter
As if each day were too long for the weight of the last
But then the wild onion spreads for them below.
This day presents a particular gift, it arrives
Like a warning for those hoping too long to be young
Under circumstances that are never right.
Captive leaf work in the afternoon sun
Invades every shadowless corner of this day, this season. It says:
All we know is to survive, to make new, to go on.

 

Prayer

Like the cartoon accordion boxing glove,
this is a machinery of transference.
The energy gathers in the corners of the room.
It slops in the edges of the kitchen sink
to parts of the carpet that will be hard to suss out.
I have spent the greater part of the day gathering
the small fragments of this work.
By the lake, the sun beats down on our heads
the clouds are swollen in their emptiness
I feel my forehead burn under such
a two-sphere system.
Does it matter which of us moves in the end?
All I can vouch for
is the longing of intermediate space,
this poetics of emptiness, contested in air.

 

pear orchard

This is not the layout of sin, though human hands have turned
the earth into a pattern of its making.
The life of the seed still resists the touch
no matter how often its genes are fixed.
We climbed down the sloping orchard—mud and wasp carcasses
intermingled in the muck, drained into a frigid soup
of overflowing dew. My mind wanders:
dreams of failure among the worm-eaten leaves.
The surprise clusters of brown pears punctuate the leaves.
My children burst down the pickers’ lane
their feet smashing the rotten fruit
into a fragrant mess, a prayer in earth.
It is all too much. What is a life for?
I have fallen in love with ladders, logical ascent,
the measure of days against the diaries of youth.
I am drowsy with the longing and the weight of pear branches
scratching my arms as I reach up for the fruit.
This is, I wonder, another founding moment of desire.
No rules broken, an abandonment, an application
to be another fallen fruit in the new proud mud.

About the author

Timothy Duffy

Timothy Duffy is a writer in CT with writing published in Barrelhouse Mag, Open Letters Monthly, The Cortland Review, Bop Dead City, Entropy, and elsewhere.