interior banner image

Carol Potter, “If Bees Eat”

Carol Potter, “If Bees Eat”

Author: Poetry Editor

November 15, 2011

This week, three new poems by Carol Potter.


napkin thrown down on the floor
+++an ending of sorts++++++Saturday dinner on the table
walking out each door++you in your socks out front++me in back

zucchini with the knife stuck in it++who said what to whom?+++it was
++++++yours I said++++there’s the knife with the butter on it
me in the chair out back++the stars I stared up at

I keep thinking I ought to know their names++been looking
+++++++++++at them my whole life+++ought to be able to discern
++Big Dipper++++++from little shield of Achilles++from dog of the world

barking in the sky+ broken railing++napkin on the floor+ zucchini
+++in its pool of cold butter++smell of apples we’d piled
in the corner of the yard+++green++gnarly++tart+ apples

++nothing anyone could eat
+++++++++you on the front step
me in the back

sweet stink of apple in the dark and the bees that eat them


green apples+++falling into the yard+++bees eating them
+++++++if you can say that bees eat+++gouges in the apples
4-5 bees in each gouge++the sap++++++loosened

sweet all over the ground
++++++++yellow wings
+++++those small mouths buzzing

the ground has a throat of sweet
++++++++and it’s humming around your feet
put some shoes on I tell you++++++++the mound of apples

+++++++in the rake and the bees unnerved+++++fruit
falling as we speak++++we can’t keep up with it+++the apples
+++++that red bird singing


you speak of the apples+++++++fallen from the tree
+++++how many there were
+ like marbles underfoot but intermittently soft

what they stank of
+++++++++in the sunlight+ all the yellow jackets digging into the gnarled flesh
+++++nothing anyone could eat+ the dull plop

+ they made in the night+ the air wet
+++++++++on our skin, the cicadas


CAROL POTTER‘s fourth book of poems, Otherwise Obedient (Red Hen Press, 2007), was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian poetry. Her book Short History of Pets won the 1999 Cleveland State Poetry Center Award, and the Balcones Award. Previous books are Upside Down in the Dark, 1995, and Before We Were Born, 1990–both from Alice James Books. Her poems have appeared in Field, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner and many other journals and anthologies.

Poetry Editor photo

About: Poetry Editor

Lambda Literary's Poetry Spotlight is currently closed for submissions.

Subscribe to our newsletter