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When Honeybees
Were Everywhere

Once, honeybees covered the clover-carpeted

ground, their steady hum linked so closely

with the clovers’ heavy heads and thread-like

stems it could have been, instead, the language

of these fragrant flowers — perhaps what they

whispered to one another in the early morning

light on a summer day as the barefoot children

burst from their houses and the dogs began

to bark and the milkman with his thick-soled

boots tromped through the yards, and mothers

dragged their laundry baskets across the grass

while bees scattered and the clover, briefly

trampled, rose again — their pale, dew-damp

faces poised to receive the bees’ next kiss.

– Terri Kirby Erickson

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