Twenty Years After You Died

by Mark Bibbins

Mark Bibbins

Twenty years after you died
I am still seeing sometimes
around Manhattan one of your exes
also named Mark
because that’s how our story
has always told itself
Mark and his dogs lived
in the same building downtown
as my friends and their dogs I assume
he didn’t recognize me
and what would I even have said
as we passed in the lobby
Hi you might not remember me but
Recently Mark and I ended
up seated at adjacent tables
at a restaurant in the Village
where I lacked the nerve to bring myself
to lean over to my friend
and say Don’t look
but that guy over there
My friend had been talking about
colony collapse and poetries
of witness but I was too distracted
to listen I felt like a bee
who’d been heading
for honey and gotten trapped instead
in tar
Recently I read that saving the honeybees
would no more save all the bees
than saving the chickens would
save all the birds
   I often confuse
   a sense of futility
   with a call to action
An artist places broken
figurines in beehives
and the bees build their honeycombs
on them mending and mutating
the shards
Grief operates like that
its collaborators unwitting unaware
of the work being done
Grief arrives as shadows
of bees
darkening hives of loss

13th Balloon

Last updated December 12, 2022