Church Bees

I wear the dead like a halo of bees around my head.
When I lean into the pump handle to draw water

and I stare at the bricks molded in clay
to keep lethal viruses from descending,

they are there. In the fall, I put split wood away
against the cyclical cold which turns the world

into a glass marble streaked with lemon,
but the lemon is unreachable, sealed in its clear cabin.

The husks of bees are sizzling in the cold. Even the dead
take a break during winter. The bubbles of their thoughts

empty. Spring begins to slowly simmer like the memory of greens
steeped in July. The first bees are bewildered

at snow, at the way death goes on trying
to live in the ungodly heat of change.

It’s always a tug of war between living and dying,
born holding onto one end of the flowering rope, winning

the mystery prize with a final tug at the other. Rising from the
church basement, the bees are a halo of the living about my head.

The cemetery handle hisses loose its pressure after I release it,
and the sun stalls in someone else’s summer sky.

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