More than the beetles turned russet,
sunset, dragging their shield, more than
the crickets who think it’s evening all afternoon,
it’s the bees I love this time of year.

Sated, maybe drunk, who’ve lapped at the hips
of too many flowers for one summer but
still must go on hunting, one secret
closing, another ensuing, picking

lock after lock, rapping the glass,
getting stuck in a puddle of dish soap,
almost winter, almost dark, reading far past
the last paragraph into the back blank page,

acknowledgments, and history of type.
I think when my head finally cracks
out will come one of those ravening scouts
autumnal with hunger beyond any sipping,

swallowing, beyond the hive’s teeming
factory’s needs. I think maybe then,
when I’m dying like a bug in a puddle
of dish soap, I’ll be relieved,

my wings wet capes and not working,
antennae slicked back and not working,
eye that sees the ruby above going out,
eye that sees the ruby within getting brighter

as I drag myself to a tomato ripening
on the window sill, reddest, softest
island of my last planet, last aureola,
stinger waving and useless. I’ll wait then,

while air from the north rushes gulf air,
a tree indicating wildly, each leaf woke
in orange outcry. It won’t be suffering,
exactly. Rain coming, then gone, a chill

that means all my barbarous kind are alone
and perishing, our unrecognizable young
buried and waiting, bodies of fire becoming
bodies of air. I don’t think there’s any way

to prepare.

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