Bumblebee (Childhood #19, Age 6)

Sunday morning after the early service,
I wait outside at the edge, avoid the crush
of hips, unwelcome bumps from handbags, jabbing
elbows, too much perfume. I watch the grownups,
the smiles and show of women lifting pale hands
to cobweb brimmed hats, smoothing skirts, flowing silk
dresses. The men shake hands, nod, light cigarettes,

talk cars, tools, the new lumberyard. At my back,
the massive stone wall of the church, shaded, rough,
radiates night chill. Then, a child shrills, someone
calls out. I rush to look. In the morning sun,
I see a bush, wild white blossoms blanketed
in bumblebees. An older boy stands beside
the bush, his body very still. He shushes

us kids, crowded too close, lifts his arm, extends
his hand. With one gentle finger, he touches
the powdered back of a bumblebee. He strokes
slowly between its wings as it perches, soothes
it with delicate caress as it drowses
overburdened with pollen, helpless, gentled
in the open throat of the sun-drenched flower.


Poem by Claudia McGhee

Claudia McGhee has dealt with words as technical writer, columnist, editor, eBook producer, poet, fiction writer. Finishing Line Press published Claudia’s chapbook, Paperlight. While her technical writing has been translated into six languages and distributed worldwide, now retired, she trying to make sure her work reads properly in American English.