Meanwhile, We Continue

The bees hum in the morning air,
finding their homes among flowers and long-stemmed grasses
and the soft peach fuzz of my childish face. Young,
my mother taught me how to suck a stinger from skin,
to press a cold cube of ice where it hurts, to dance
on tip-toes, forever careful
of where little bodies may hide in the freshly-cut lawn. Young,
I learned to always jump from rock to rock, always fear,
always hold the melting popsicle away from my cheeks.

On the opposite side of the country, I discover the bees are becoming extinct.
My neighbor wears a mask and gloves, thousands swarming
around his proud arms. When the last one dies,” he says dramatically,
“so will we.” But he does not smile.

Meanwhile hearts are breaking.
Meanwhile cigarette butts are tossed from car windows.
Meanwhile glass bottles are thrown in the trash
and the turtles are choking on plastic straws
and the earth is raining acid.

Meanwhile the Midwest is buried under feet of snow
and Arizona reaches one hundred fifteen degrees
and I stare at the insides of a daisy, too afraid to touch
for fear of disrupting all that I don’t quite know.

Meanwhile there is sun
making flowers
and children still sneezing
from pollen and holding ice cubes to their tender cheeks,
swollen hands.

Meanwhile there is a bee
who finds her way into the confines of my car
in the middle of the highway
and I open the windows,
let her be.
let her go.