Joe Fletcher




In this hell that god shat

I was walking barefoot

through clover and stepped

on a blossom-guzzling bee,

which stung me with such

heroic furor that I screamed

and dropped my book of nature.

I crushed that goddamned bee,

which had injected into me

more of itself than it was.

When there is only pain

there is only pain.

There was only pain.

A marsh wren laughed.

From that time I began

to walk and fear bees

at the same time, which is

impossible. Thus another

bee I did not see swerved

toward me like an atom.

It stung me so hard it died,

which seemed like the best

idea. I sank to my knees,

swollen with otherness,

as if to propose marriage

to a dead girl at the center of

a blue flower. There was not

a hole in the whole forest

to slither away through, nor

a sky to turn around in and

help myself. It was for once

impossible not to act.