What Bees Read

The essentials of their trade:
horticulture, crop forecasts,
Farmers' Almanac, hive design;
perturbing reports on pesticides,
poison, parasites, pathogens,
their collapsing population.

And to pass the winter hours
as they huddle round the queen,
anything to delight or distract:
flower catalogs, choreography,
royal gossip, glossy art books
featuring Georgia O'Keeffe.

The queen, alone in a crowd,
reads of sky lanterns, da Vinci,
Coleman, Earhart, Sputnik, Venera,
Tereshkova, each stepping-stone
toward the day her daughters
dance on other worlds.

—Mary Soon Lee