Ode to Tired Bumblebees Who Fall Asleep Inside Flowers with Pollen on their Butts


Usually, it’s the males. Maybe 
they’ve gone out with buddies 
in their leks, keeping their radar 
tuned for female bees as they move 
from sweet pea to mallow flower and 
snapdragon, gathering pollen
in those hairy saddlebags called
corbiculae. Maybe they have 
no place to return or are lost,
having gone too far from the nest.
Maybe the empty football fields
and elementary school playgrounds,
long unmowed since our common
isolation and teeming now 
with yellow dandelions, proved
too much. Sweet alyssum, 
phlox; wisteria cascading heavy 
out of themselves. Honeysuckle 
and evening-scented stock,
dianthus crowned with hint
of cinnamon and smoky clove. 
Female bees will also burrow
deep inside the shade of a squash
flower: the closer to the source
of nectar, the warmer and more
quilt-like the air. In the cool 
hours of morning, look closely 
for the slight but tell-tale
trembling in each flower cup:
there, a body dropped mid-flight,
mid-thought. How we all retreat
behind some folded screen as work
or the world presses in too
soon, too close, too much. 

Originally from Baguio City, LUISA A. IGLORIA is the author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Poetry Prize; The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, 2018), and 12 other books. She is the Louis I. Jaffe and University Professor of English and Creative Writing at Old Dominion University; she also leads workshops at the nonprofit Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA. In July 2020, she was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-22). www.luisaigloria.com