Tickling out of a golden universe, the native bees swarm:
spots of ash in a warm wind, migraine patterns dancing.
Each tiny tick and tock and black note small as a finger nail
hacking the green code of a street-level water meter,
for a new hive. Rain will come, and the oblivious feet of
week-day pedestrians will hammer them and failure is inevitable.
Obsidian commas fumble on our forearms, catch in our hair.
They are as numerous as mathematics, slipping out of the air
like broken transistors and diodes, switching ineffectively,
twitching in drifts. There is nothing to be done. She knows
a man that works with hives, but he isn’t answering the phone.
These split seconds and obsolete infinitives will be gone soon.
We watch them for a while with the impersonal pity of seraphs,
or a cameraman waiting for months in a covert in a New Guinea
rainforest, collecting stalkings and slitherings, struggles and escapes
for half-hour documentaries, with the powerlessness of Gods.
Damen O’Brien is a Queensland poet, living in Wynnum. He is currently working as a Senior Contracts Manager for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle company, which is much less exciting than it sounds (if at all). Damen has been published in Cordite and Mascara, and has won or been highly commended in the Yeats Poetry Prize, the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award, in the Ipswich Poetry Festival, The Redlands Poetry Prize, and the FAW Tasmania Poetry Prize. Find more from Damen on his website.