By Kim Fahner
Where do you go to see the ancient bees, the ones who stung dinosaurs
on Saturday mornings—long before those mornings were named as days of the week?
I imagine the ROM, with its well-lit exhibitions of woolly mammoths and fake savannah
grasslands. The sky is all robin’s egg blue, the edges of the wall an illusion of prehistory.
Myanmar, one hundred million years ago, and a bee had just visited a clutch of flowers,
flew haphazard into clump of tree resin—was ambered for all time. Beetle larvae on her body.
Fossil bee now, ambered. Beetle larvae were ready to grow, hatch, pollinate the world
one flower at a time. Prehistoric bees & beetles, caught in a Polaroid snap.
Google ‘fossilized bee’ and find New Jersey, Argentina, and the aforementioned Myanmar.
These bees were everywhere before the dinosaurs went away, dragging their DNA behind them.
Steal it. Un-museum box it. Hang it on a chain—silver grace—and then run your finger
down the shape of its curves. Hear it hum, the bee frozen in time, longing to fly.
This milkweed's mourning
By Kim Fahner
(after Sara Angelucci’s Undergrowth)
Pirouette through wind and rain—ballerina spore—these seeds that spin off, ceili bright,
land graceful in tall grasses edging trail. Plant themselves for next summer’s monarchs, bees.
Begin with the solipsistic moth, the one that follows the light of the scanner from left to right,
reading lines of energy—flip, flip, flipping towards some promised land. Begin there.
Then, conjure the honeybees that travel miles, so certain, feed on milkweed in July heat wave.
Here first, then off to hive, passing butterflies on wings of migration. Which disappears first—
this bee, or this butterfly? One goes first, without too much notice, and others follow. Dominoes,
one tumbling into another, nicking edges in quick succession. One goes, then another.
Who are you, to stand by so silently, without witness? Shame is a black velvet dress with
broken ribs ripping through it. Three of Swords: the place where the heart used to beat.
Pierced through now, that heart, and a voice speaks up to say that monarchs and bees,
bats and beetles, tumble through space, shades of their former selves before erasure. Smudged.
Kim Fahner lives and writes in Sudbury, Ontario. Her most recent book of poems is Emptying the Ocean (Frontenac House, 2022). Kim is the First Vice-Chair of The Writers' Union of Canada (2023-25), a member of the League of Canadian Poets, and a supporting member of the Playwrights' Guild of Canada. She is currently working on completing her second novel, The Painted Birds. Kim may be reached via www.kimfahner.com