for William Logan

Meant only to evict, the chemical
kills dozens in the process. In between
furious calls to pest control, I screen
the porch: beneath the corner pedestal,
their former home and new memorial,
the bees start piling up—a hill of bean-
sized corpses mounting to, then past, obscene . . .
Out of the country, on sabbatical,

my host requests an update every day,
worried about his non-invasive guest
equally, it would seem. My rent-free stay
comes to an end in three months, which invests
it with the sweetness of a honey jar’s
last drops. And yet, like the remaining bees,
which carry on as if their calendars
went on forever, sowing tapestries
of flowers as they pollinate the garden;
or like my mother in her final weeks,
a captive of her body, not its warden,
fed like a child while wasting through physiques
unfit for someone twice her age—I stick
to a routine. Habits are hard to kick,

but finding substitutes is harder yet . . .
Listening to old voicemails on the porch
tonight, soothed by her voice, though counterfeit,
I mistake a rising hum for static; lurch
forward then. Undulating like a net,
the whole hive sweeps across the yard, in search.

A Message from the Editors

Your donation sustains our efforts to inspire joyous rediscoveries.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 40 Number 5, on page 55
Copyright © 2024 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
https://newcriterion.com/issues/2022/1/housesitting