Michael-Ellen Walden

“These colonies are testimonies,” he tells me: Daddy sees God in honeybees.

We don’t know why our hives keep dying.

Robed in clean keeper’s mesh, he serves the
apiary sweet water  to stave off starvation. He
reveres their humility. If you sit to the west
they’ll let you watch them eat, taste and see,
a persevering people, a miracle–

We don’t know why our hives keep dying.

We think of eusocially grieving and fill
veteran jelly jars with their nectar, secretion,
elixir, tincture. If they’re a single-minded
colony, is their grief only the queen’s? Or
does each wing-beat warn of work they’ve
been forced to eat? Fed the sweet viscous
heartbeat of their home, their honey-filled
bellies knowing long in advance that winter
would mean defeat–

We don’t know why our hives keep dying.

My dad tries to analyze, provides by and by,
believing life will pry itself from the fatal
mire, defy the past, resurrect, revive. But his
eyes are tired when the again-dwindling size
makes him baptize them by smoke and–

I eat honey from those martyred,
finding their demise was divine.


Michael-Ellen (Mikey) Walden is a junior studying Theatre and Gender and Sexuality Studies. They are from Paducah, KY.