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 an American writer and the author of Poetry Is a Disease (Greying Ghost Press 2022). He holds a doctorate in English and Creative Writing from Ohio University, and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts. His poems and prose are published or forthcoming in Pleiades, Banshee, Salamander, Best New Poets, Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, and Bear Review, among others. He lives in Germany with his wife and dog. Learn more about him at