Sean Nevin

The Carpenter Bee

Black and polished
with light, it treads the air
beneath the arched soffits
of our house, where
this morning I smeared,
with a clean metal blade,
a dollop of putty
over the bullet-sized hole
it bore into the wood.
I watched, for an hour
that bee, tap-tap-tapping
like the severed tip
of a cane groping
after what was lost, and
like that, I saw again
the frostbitten toe
the medics let thaw,
then amputated as I slept
through a gauze
of morphine. The charred
and inconsolable knuckle
that would, for years, try,
each night in my dreams,
to come home from the war.

Sean Nevin
“The Carpenter Bee” is from Oblivio Gate (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008).