4 Years of Dreaming Bees
David Bates

grey flaking hives
bundled into every corner
of a mud-spackled
room without doors

Army tanks approach
their track treads pummeling
the pavement
announcing my name and rank
through a bullhorn
and reciting various articles
from the
Uniform Code of Military Justice

the walls vibrate
gritdust leaks from the ceiling
as the hives begin to pulse and
expose layers

bees the size of bats with
polished eyes & untearable wings

they will
tangle themselves in my hair
they will
crawl into the cuffs of my sleeves
trap themselves
against my skin beneath my shirt

the tanks are leaving
I am missing the convoy
I’m AWOL and
out of uniform

the whoosh-crack of a mortar shell
& the hives fall & split against the floor &

I’m fighting the bed sheets as if
trapped in an engine

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