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The Skylark Prize

Helen Coats
SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

Dream for Honey Bee Januaries: List

Dream for Honey Bee Januaries

Every year, neonicotinoids break them down
the way first cousin tobacco
lashes soot to human lungs. I see them
husked in the center of a beekeeper’s palm—
origami bookmarks that once drank deep from
flowers still curled in hibernation shells.
They remain tuxedoed in death,
bristle black and brown fur wiry,
more aggressive than my imagination,

where, asleep, I break the law,
pilot a new Golden Record into space
containing nothing but lies. It says
America has banned the emoji and healed
my mother’s clinical depression, says
scientists have found a cure for Colony
Collapse disorder, that all beehives are
restored, that larvae sleep soundly, like the
moonset above every human cuticle.

In the dream, I hope aliens find it, sentient insects
who will pour in from their home beyond the
farthest star, seeking their evolutionary parents,
believing them alive and well on Earth.
Then watch the governments scramble, watch
them desperate to save these creatures
who arrive too soon each year, who
guzzle nectar in January and then in
January. Watch them make the lie come
true to save face, for honey bees
and honeycombs, watch them
empty their pockets so that
honey drizzles onto children’s
ignorant accepting tongues.

Dream for Honey Bee Januaries: Text
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