Killing Bees

Finding carpenter bees in decking,
my neighbor tries to balance
his love of all creatures with the buzzing
destruction of his home. He tells me
he decided to co-exist at first, wondering
just how much damage can bugs really do.
Months later, when he sees inside
the hollowed beams above his porch
and feels the soft push of the wood yield
to a finger poke, he envisions a fall,
the roof crashing around one of his kids.
He runs to Wal Mart, a place he detests,
and fills a green basket with can
after can of killing spray and, that evening
enacts an orgy of chemical death—
clouds of it, a stink like lighter fluid
spiked with lemon. He blinks at the haze,
his hand goes to his mouth, again and again.
His children watch him cough, and they crack
the door. His daughter wants to help.
He yells at her to get back. Startled,
she hits her head as she backs up. His son
starts to whimper. The haze thickens
and catches the hue of sunset.
His wife yells to hurry up
and slams the door. A bee staggers
along the beam. He wants to crush it
with his thumb, his tongue, to taste
it die, to make it pay for every hurt,
to sting back for his eyes, his house,
his place, to protect the eyes he sees now,
wet behind the glass doors, the eyes
that will want to look to him forever.

:: Gabriel Welsch, Dirt and All Its Dense Labor (2006)

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