Volume 33, Number 3

Bees Request Reclassification as Essential Workers

Deep in the heart-shaped supercomputer of earth
where equations slip out small miracles,
a hand-painted sign reminds the insect skeleton crew,
Life as we know it is open to suggestion.

Parked on a table sit two boxes labeled Requests. Donations.
But hardly anyone visits the seventeen-year cicada-girl coders.
So no one sees their scribbled formulas in the dirt, the bright artistry
of leaf clusters arranged to decorate the musty, earthen rooms.
No one hears the stereophonic songbird and whale loops.

Each element implies genius, urgency, efficiency.
Their red-dot eyes monitor the constancy of change, extinction patterns.
Chasing the next order of things, they’re suspicious the gig’s up.
They chatter and click softly, heads bowed.

Ready to kiss so much of the world goodbye.
Not a sad song, they pivot. Wasting no time,
the girls look ahead. To yellow flowers, to buzzing.

—E. F. Schraeder