Best of the Net 2011  

The Summer I Stopped Catching Bees

Old coffee cans smothered every buzz
in a stale whiff of morning brew, so I chose
canning jars as my weapons, snapping
glass around bee and blossom, mastering
a sharp click without any cracks.
I wanted their haughty hues,
their proud hum, so at night I lined
my windowsill with jars, each lid
squeezed tight with punctured holes
The start of school brought Cindy Mills,
the first in fifth grade to wear a bra.
Once a thin twirl of a girl who danced
on the playground in circles, she showed
me the year before how to spin
without feeling dizzy. I watched her
in English class that day, saw her shrink
into a shadow. Slouched forward,
shoulders hunched, her whole body curved.
When the boys pointed to her chest,
yelled╩bee stings, she only sunk lower,
her scowl melting parts of the front row.
I ran home under the swell of her thick glare,
stared at my collection, at the limp bodies
banded in bright colors, stranded soft in pyres
of dead flowers and grass, before I threw open
my screenless window to toss them high
into the air, hoping one more time
to see a quick shimmy, a lofty shake.

- Karen J. Weyant (from Glass: A Journal of Poetry)