by T.S. Leonard

and again? Honey,
we’ve been over this:

The bees knew what they were doing long before
we took notice. We were only just recently
stomping around colonies, giving names, taking
honey—the queens we’ve made before us bow,
on the order of our kings. Oh, invasive species!

if we want to live then we have better learn
how to adapt: it takes us wheels, at least, &
wheels to see the patterns, the threats. But
Japanese bees, eventually, evolved to beat
the giant: they learned to swarm together

and circle the monster, to overheat the beast.
And next time you see a monarch, don’t call it
graceful, when to them it must be power: beating,
beating wings. Remember how long & hard we’ve
tried to fly—the wheel was not enough. But maybe

you, a lowly worker, might have the right
idea: It could take years to change, or to reach
the ears of a queen—the need may outlive us—
well, so be it. If we unlearned the wheel once
then, honey, we can learn to grow again, and

again, and

T.S. Leonard is a writer and performer based in Portland, Oregon. Leonard is the author of the poetry chapbook The Year in Loss and Faggotry, the audio project Even Still They Shook, and the queer obscenities of the band Soft Butch. Their short fiction has appeared in Buckman Journal and Frontera; their essays have been published in Old Pal, The New Territory, and Missouri Life. A proud after-school art teacher, they still believe in the future. Ralph Almeida is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and creates in Brooklyn, NY.