"How This Bee Stuffs Its Pockets" by Hayden Saunier
There is a name for the color of pollen
this honeybee is packing into its thigh pouches
as it works the Mexican sunflowers
with exuberant purpose
and it’s the name for the color of robes
worn by those who practice
detachment from worldly things,
a group that does not include me,
sitting back on my heels
in the wild summer garden
searching inside my head
for a word I can’t remember,
or the bee, abdomen deep
in the actual bright center of a bloom.
I say turmeric, tangerine, marigold, ochre
but no door swings open.
I try apricot, butterscotch, amber.
Not it. The honeybee gathers
fatbiscuits of pollen
the color of threads in a crocus’ throat
or the orange-gold flecks in your eyes
when we met and I tumbled
in love with your eyes
flecked with saffron— oh, saffron’s
the word that swings open a swoon
of first love. Now I’m both here
and there, in two places at once.
I’m saffron both inside and out.
Hayden Saunier’s most recent book of poetry is A Cartography of Home (Terrapin, 2021.) Her work has been published widely and awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, and Gell Poetry Award. She is the founder and director of No River Twice, an interactive, audience-driven poetry reading/performance group.