International Women’s Day Poetry Series | Swarm by Laura-Blaise McDowell


By Laura-Blaise McDowell


I see him on a documentary about swarms.
A scientist in the United States who has isolated the pheromone used by the Queen Bee to control her workers.
He has bathed in it.

He walks slowly around town, every inch of him pulsing with bees, who rarely sting him, the
narrator says; who worship him, in fact.
They follow in a wave like a cloak. People stare and back away, take photographs on their phones
of this Bee Man, this man who would be Queen.

The narrator doesn’t mention how the scientist can reverse what he’s done, how he gives up his throne, or even how he goes to the bathroom.
As the credits roll, the final shot is the door of a deli closing after him,
leaving some of the bees behind.

They hit against the door again and again as the narrator’s name and the producer’s name and the names of everyone involved in the making of the documentary, seethe over them,

burning white against the rapturous hurl of the spare swarm as they shatter themselves
against the glass.

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Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash