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ISSUE:  Summer 2000
When sap ambered the scarred apple branch,
I skipped church to play Scrabble on the porch.
On my knees with seven letters

I acted Adam, eager to order the world.
The first word rooted in the board’s
central star. In an hour I had a crossword

garden that nearly made sense of birdcall,
Rose of Sharon, a balmy morning.
When an engine droning down the road

became a dark flurry circling, then bent
a sapling’s limb, I was afraid.
It was bees, six million tempers shaping

a pendant’s glitter around a banished queen.
I tried to spell them into oblivion,
to tame manic to man and transform

ape to rapture. I wanted shelter from a storm
more zealous than any sermon.
But then I saw their frenzy for pollen.

In quest of summer balm, they cast
a sunlit glamour. Too busy
and spellbound for stinging,

the colony was offering me their psalm,
first time ever I had been ready
to hear their rhapsody,

to see them rise and swarm.


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