The Fable of the Bees

by Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan

In the twentieth year of the twenty-first
century, and on account of a 29-year-old
woman who, in Taiwan, on a Friday in
April, was sweeping the tomb of her dead
mother, the mother who, though not
unkind in life, had been quite cold, it was
discovered that the bees of our planet are
not dying but simply relocating. Having
squatted to pull the weeds, the sun on her
back, the mountains in the distance, the
woman, identified only by her surname as
He, felt something go into her eye. He
splashed the eye with water; He returned
home; He did the things that He did day
after day. What else might He have done?
But the next day, the eye was swollen. |
like to imagine He lying on her bed. Near
her head is a vase of the pale yellow lilies
she had forgotten to take to her mother's
grave. Her friend straddles her to peer into
her eye. Laughter. No wonder your mother
was cold, you selfish girll!! Grief. A cold
cloth, the four kilometer walk to the
medical center. How must He have felt
when the doctor pulled live bees from her
eye? The bees, the doctor told her, had
survived on her tears. Salt, protein. An
anomaly, the doctor said. But soon, all
over the world with its many sadnesses, it
became clear that the bees had taken to
living in the eyes of everyone, first of
women, then, too, of animals, finally, of
men. This morning, in Brooklyn, | feel the
buzzing inside my head.

Last updated November 23, 2022