I’m Not Sorry For The Summer I Gave You Chlamydia

By Susan Nguyen

because there were bees.
And I’m not sorry for bees.
Not even the two who buried
their stingers in me and made me cry:
one by my left knee, one on the back
of my neck. I guess that means I’ve killed
at least two bees in my lifetime
as well as given you chlamydia and tried
your grandmother’s recipe for crab cakes,
which were soggy but good.
Would you believe me if I told you I didn’t know?
That the bees went quiet
that summer during the first total eclipse
in 40 years. This sounds like a lie
but here’s why it’s true: a scientist
placed tiny microphones in her neighbor’s
flowerbeds. In the tiny recordings
we hear the buzz of flight then 8 seconds
of silence: the moon shrouding the sun.
To think they will experience this totality
only once in their lives. To think
if only our work created song, demanded dance.
I’m sorry for many things but I’m not sorry
for showing you my favorite trees. Or watching you feed
the neighbor’s cat after you said goodbye.
I’m still learning silence is the largest
absence. In fourth grade, a girl hid bees
inside her lunchbox and we thought the darkness
killed them. When she opened the lid,
we dreamt the sound of wings.

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