Steve Scafidi

The Bee of Was

The angel in the wheel and the forest in the man
and the old in the cold, cold bottomless Real
turn the world we don’t understand and turn
dirt to roses and the tiny hands of the dead
grip the levers and the handles of the machine
that lifts the lifted moon from the wide blue sea
that says “Enough, enough, it’s never enough,”
this chuff-chuff of want being is the gerund of,
and if you have the money you can go to the fair
and if you love a man, or if you love a woman,
or sing the name of my Aunt Rachel’s husband
you can see the dazzling lights of the city of Jack
from the billboards and parlors and Christmas lights
to the smokestacks smoking and the Ferris wheel
rolling toward the bay and the pleasure boats of Be
you are the captain of, and see say sailors pointing
at the moon and we go where we want to–wild
little bee of the common and the grave, the common
grave where some still lie terrified and alive who,
while the backhoe moves and the wives of killers
cry in rooms, begin to move a little, long dead now
to dying and the keyhole light of another day, saying
“I remember breath and the one word breathing said
was yes,” and I remember when love was a dress blue
and breasts and I remembered you a long time after
you took yourself away and left and I remember
my mother’s hair and my sister’s hair and the nonsense
of the spoon and the loneliness of the happiness of
the long and the cold and the wheel and the song
here in the forests of the deep of the afternoon.

Steve Scafidi
The Bee of Was is reprinted from Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer (LSU, 2001).
Poem, copyright © 2001 by Steve Scafidi
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse