Bee Collector in Hospital
When they couldn't find her among the ceanothus, black sage, buckwheat, and poppies,
the bees swarmed the attic, into the bedroom sanctuary
where they sought her in the mesh of nets, glass jars, rows of tweezers and pins.
In furious confusion they tossed their velvet bodies against windows, each tap
a storm that gilded the draperies and bed clothes with a harvest of dust.
There was no one home to see it.
Each bee-- bumble, honey, carpenter, and mason-- lost its dance, held its cellophane
wings close, mumbled a song in sill corners until the heat, finally, took it.
Returning late, dazed and stitched, she found her insect-loves brittle with sacrifice,
and held them as tenderly as raindrops, inspecting each mandible, proboscis, and stinger.
She pinned them to the homasote, head to thorax, with the grace of a queen.
PATRICIA CASPERS lives in Almeda, California, where she works as a doula (birth coach). In 2005, her poem La Historia won the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Recently, her manuscript "Life with Fever" was 1st runner up for the Tom and Stan Wick Prize for Poetry, and a finalist for the Philip Levine Prize
for Poetry. Her poetry group, Thicket Press, self-published a box of letter-press printed chapbooks
called Box Wood & Shade.