The Sweet Community
You show me the teeming hive
smoke-dulled into sluggishness,
magnetized—the framed comb
attracting the rapt attention
of all those hovering bodies.
This sweet community, you say,
absorbed in its constant task,
procreation, delivering and seeking,
sipping and sucking, hard at the work
of construction, regurgitating
what they know to raise
the next generation.
You say there is a dance that means food,
a dance for sex, a dance for “follow me.”
And when a virus enters the square,
stacked cities, all humming ceases,
empty shells litter the floor boards,
a spectacle of curled black legs—
they live and die together, collective
wisdom, you tell me: You,
their outsider in a wreath of smoke,
their mesh-masked god of plunder.
Poet, essayist, librettist and occasional radio commentator Ann E. Michael (website) is also a college educator/tutor in eastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, an avid gardener, and an advocate for the arts. She co-edited the New Classics issue of qarrtisluni with Jessamyn Smyth.