Death of a Honeybee
Tonight I watched a bee as it died on a
Tennis court. I was entranced as it stumbled
Silently about a five inch patch of poured
Concrete. It quivered and shivered, sometimes I
Wondered if it was scratching its back, and I asked
Myself, time and again, what I should do about
Would the kind thing have been to
Kill it quick? To take my shoe and smash it
Into oblivion? I told myself, “yes, that is what
I should do”, and yet I could not bring
Myself to kill that bee. I just sat and wondered
What a bee’s last thoughts might be. Did it
Think of its hive; wonder who might miss her when
She didn’t make it home? Did she remember her life?
Fields of clover, like moving oceans below her, as she
Gathered pollen in the sun?
Does a bee understand its death and I wonder if it was
Painful. Such silence during her crooked crawl.
I agonized for her, this small creature, and wondered
If her breath sounded labored as she struggled in those
Moments. It seemed a long time coming, her death, and
I struggled with my own conscience as I found myself
Unable to take any action at all.
Does a bee think of all of the days it will miss? Does it
Cherish every last moment it has; every single breath it
Can take? It was this thought that maybe held me back
From ending it for her. Who am I to rob a bee of its last
When finally she was still I poked at her with a paper. I
Guess you could say that somewhere inside I hoped that she
Was merely sleeping; she was not. She was stiff and still and
Would no longer struggle. My opportunity to be brave, to relieve
Her suffering, was past. And I watched her, still, as yellow tennis
Balls flashed by on the court next to me. I wondered what the cute
Man might think of my interest in such an insignificant creature but
Decided I didn’t care.
When the ants came I found I could not give her up. I relieved them of
Their treasure with careful hands; lifted her by one golden wing.
She was beautiful, you know, as many small things are. I studied her
Corpse and looked into her eyes. It was strange to see that even a bee
Has dead eyes when its life has ebbed out. Stranger still was the thing
Her stinger was stuck in her mouth.