Upon Learning that Bees Taste with their Feet I lament the half century I failed to marvel at this one honeybee, as the book heeds, “hovering over a bloom then plumbing toes inside to divine if its nectar has already been imbibed and, thus, save precious calories for the thousand-plus flowers each gatherer touches down upon a day. ” It’s like the time I learned butterflies navigate by ultraviolet light (we don’t see) and, suddenly, felt cheated by streetlights and road signs. Tonight, then, I porch sit until dawn so I might espy “that June, lunar moth emerging from cocoon with no mouth for the two weeks it flies and seeks mates in the feintest moonlight.” And I dream, now, of suicide prevention week featuring those bio luminescing fish whose “glowing, worm-shaped lips attract prey to steel-trap jaws so they can survive the complete darkness of bottom” Still, some friends think me a bit mad as, between sips from the wine glass’s tulip, I wax poetic on ”the humming- bird’s heart beating twelve-hundred times per minute from the body weight in nectar it drinks each day.” But as I flit from the bloomed tomes of books rife with this life-giving-science, l’ve come to bee-lieve earth’s own looming colony collapse might be averted if we evolve this taste to gather only the sweet distillations of light in, say, “the small, male cuttle fish shape-shifting and coloring into a female impersonator who then sashays past the fighting alpha males to mate.” And if, one day, enough of us gather and carry—into conversation—the tupelo honey Of “the humpback’s song echoing a whole time zone In search of a mate,” maybe we’ll see wild reverence as vital to survival as bees are to our food supply for see, already, the growing fieldtrips where kids are asked to imagine the hive’s hidden queen laying over a million eggs a lifetime; and hear how they jostle to be the first to press ear to the wild, winter hive to hear the “soft symphony from the bees staying warm, can you imagine, by alternating being on the edge of the swarm and furiously flapping wings to keep the hive at ninety degrees while, outside it’s a whopping five below.” And think how the teachers and chaperone--taking in the children’s’ oooohhhs and ahhhs over honeybees dancing directions to the newest lupine blooms— find themselves tap dancing heal to toe on the bus ride home while wondering at all this long-overlooked sweetness at their very feet.
Dennis Camire is a professor of writing at Central Maine Community College. His poems have appeared in Poetry East, Spoon River Review, The Mid-American Review and other journals and anthologies. An Intro Journal Award Winner and Pushcart Prize nominee, his most recent book is Combed by Crows, Deerbrook Editions. Of the collection. X. J. Kennedy says: “Dennis Camire is an up and comer… The poems engage us with their promising titles, and deliver with skill and energy.” Of Franco-American and Native American origin, he lives in an A-frame in West Paris, Maine.