They’re getting older,
five brothers and sisters,
all with degrees, jobs, families,
nice homes, good lives, happier
than most except when they must
fly to the home of their childhood
and settle their mother’s estate.
They gather in the old stucco
none of them is willing to sell.
They drink bourbon and scotch
and tell each other everything again
that happened when they were young,
what made them take planes anywhere
trying to escape and forget.
A few more drinks and they see the bees
swarming the day Mom knocked the hive
out of the willow with her clothesline pole.
They were young, not yet in school,
happy and laughing, clapping but not
understanding why Father was gone,
why he would call but never come home.
All summer they rode tricycles
into each other, yelling and screaming,
ringing the bells on the handlebars,
trying to figure out what had happened.
Another few drinks and they agree
it’s time to go out in the yard and look up
in the tree where the hive used to be.
Once again they hear children
yelling and screaming,
riding into each other, ringing bells,
looking everywhere for answers,
not knowing the questions.
In minutes they realize the reunion’s over
and there may never be another.
It’s time to pack, get on planes, escape
before someone puts a match to the stucco.
The hive’s on the ground bouncing
and they’re all bees, swarming again.
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.