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Green Bee | The Nation

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Green Bee

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It was curled on the pavement, forehead to knees,

as if it had died while bowing. Its stripes

were citrine-yellow, and the black of a moonless

starless, clear night. It did not

belong on a street, to be stepped on, I picked it

up in a fold of glove, and in the taxi

canted it onto a floral hankie,

a small, thin, cotton death-glade--

and the bee moved, one foreleg,

like an arm, feebly, as if old. It seemed

not long for this world, and it seemed I could not

save it, and had been saved, by its gesture,

from smothering it all day in my bag. I would have

liked to set it in a real glade,

but I thought that it might still, right now,

be suffering, yet I could not kill it

directly--I shook it, from the hankie, out the window,

onto West End Avenue,

hoping that, before a tire

killed it, instantly, it would hear

and feel huge rushes of tread and wind,

like flight, like the bee-god's escape.

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