The Carpenter Bee

Thump, thump, thump.

A full-bodied Carpenter bee.

The kind of bee that gets in your face when you get into its territory.

Is buzzing.


Against the window in the shed.

Darkness on its backside.

Sunlight on its belly.

It probes the window for an exit.

I talk to it.

            Fly away.

            Into the dark.

           See the doorway

            It is open.

But, its kind.

Oh, they’re an obstinate lot!

I admire their ability to burrow.

Drill perfect holes.

Make piles up sawdust.

Without tools.

Without teeth.

Just their fleshy mandibles.

Yet, I’ve found their fleshy bodies.


Squeezed between the screen and the window pane.

Their forelegs stretched out.

Reaching out.

Through the mesh.

For the blue.

I envelope it quickly in a piece of cloth.

Drag my fingers and thumb across the window pane.

Bring them together.

Close the cloth up and underneath it.

It buzzes furiously.


Vibrations reverberate deep into my hand.

Up into my forearm.

I imagine its stinger piercing the cloth’s interwoven fibers.

Penetrating one of my fingertips.

My instincts protest.

            Let go!

            Drop the cloth.


I tighten the curl of my fingers.

Tight enough to securely move it through the shed.

Out of the doorway.

And, into the garden.

But not so tight that I tear a wing.

Snap an antenna.

Or, crush a thorax.

Wrapped in clothy darkness.


With its wings folded and pressed firmly across its back.

I reassure it with a shhh.

It submits.


In my hand.

There’s no more buzzing.

No more vibrations.

It feels like fatherhood.



I held off being a father.

I was afraid.

Afraid of holding another’s life in my hands.

Afraid of the vast differential in physical presence that life necessitates.

At the beginning.

Of any parent-newborn relationship.

That vast differential in physical presence.

That allows one body to absorb the thunder for another.

Would I do what was done to me?

I walk out of the shed.

Uncurl my fingers.

The cloth unfolds.

Lies flat in my hand.

The Carpenter Bee.

Bathed in sunlight.

Sits a bit.

Circles my palm a bit.

Then calmly.


In an everyday sort of buzzing way.

Lifts off.

Flies off.

To greet the garden phlox.


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Thanks. – shawn