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Thursday, July 11, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

WILSONVILLE, OREGON - June 30, 2013 - A bumblebee is caught in the protective netting draping the trees in a Wilsonville Target parking lot. An estimated 50,000 bees were killed when the trees in the parking lot were sprayed with the insecticide Safari on June 15. Molly J. Smith/The Oregonian, June 30, 2013.

Fifty-thousand is a medium-sized town
     Loveland, Colorado
     Pocatello, Idaho
     Lacrosse, Wisconsin
     Milford, Connecticut
wiping out any one is a slaughter

for bees,
50,000 might be five hives,
maybe one.

Dead bees dry up like cicada husks,
furred legs pump,
torsos circle directing
toward a hive they’ll never go home to.

They came for linden pollen,
the heart-shaped leaves, abundance.
and writhed in piles in a Target parking lot
wanderers, sojourners, victims
of Safari sprayed for aphids no one worried about.
The scientists wrapped the trees in baggies,
closing the juice bar
after the liquor turned lethal.

The people worried on those pollinators,
the canaries, busy-bodies on fruit.
Come to Target to mourn, carry your signs
Bee The Change
for bees who feed us

not knowing poison
as convenience.
Poison as death knell,
the dripping of our tears.

We have so little time
without the bees.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. As a master gardener who specializes in native plants, she grows some plants just for the pollinators. A righteous bunch of pearly everlasting is in bloom right now.