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Apologizing to the bees.

This morning in the garden I was surprised to hear myself apologizing to the bees as I cut the same flowers they were working in, a dense population of heliopsis, bright orange in the hot June sun.

A truly Franciscan moment, I thought-- as if I spent my days bowed over Latin manuscripts in a hillside monastery above a field of these flowers instead of trying to pull poems by their tails out of the dark circuitry of this typewriter.

As if I were a somber figure in a religious painting, tonsured and robed, laboring in an allegorical garden, a simple man who had never seen a cough drop or a golf club or the spectacle of bees in cartoons dive-bombing some hopeless dog gardening below, aviator's caps snug on their heads, their little faces fired with resentment.

But closer to honey, I realized when I had cut enough, is knowing it is only me and all the strange sins of my life here among the bees and the sunlight. Me walking back to the house with flowers for the table and the bees returning to their hives, that Rome of activity, to dance their sweet geometric dance.
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Title Annotation:short story
Author:Collins, Billy
Publication:Chicago Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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