Derek JG Williams

A Story about the Bees
April 25, 2017 Williams Derek JG

A Story about the Bees

after Robert Hass


I still have the bees
she gave me.
I keep them on the sill
above the sink,

stare at them while
I soap dishes—frail
husks dumped in a heap.
If I cracked the window,

wind would scatter
their dead. I’d sweep them
with a broom and pile
them back in their place.

I keep quiet
when friends visit
my cabin; my chest cavity
full as the blue bowl of bees.

I skimmed off the roses
that first morning,
they weren’t meant
for me; a trick for the eye.

Every story is a story
about the body.

The pines outside
rocked and swayed
when I brought
the bees inside,

their bodies
radiant beneath
the red petals,
twin upon

twin, sharp
translucent wings.

Derek JG Williams is a doctoral student in poetry at Ohio University. He has an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is a Blacksmith House Emerging Poet. Derek’s poems are most recently published or forthcoming in PleiadesDIAGRAMPrairie Schooner, and Spillway, among others. Learn more about him at