—For Rodney’s Bees
Through the train window, a winter sunbeam tracks
across shorn fields like a pale searchlight. Horses
in colored blankets pick their way through the snow.
Tiny blue lights on bushes by a farmhouse glow
like juniper berries. Two little houses in a town
look good enough to eat, a lemon square
and brownie frosted with powdered sugar.
Farm owners have tucked bees away in hives
under pillows and blankets and hope their wings
won’t slow to a stop as they huddle around the queen,
vibrating their bodies in a tight ball to stay warm.
Even with stored honey, and supplemental fondant
sandwiched between sheets of newspaper,
many bees will die, and farmers cross their fingers
all winter until they hear a gentle hum
under the warmth of spring sun.
Jar of Ash
It began on a Thursday, an aural pastiche
of explosions, pyroclastic flows, phreatic blasts
for weeks until earthquake, landslide
and eruption swung trees like pendulums,
a shockwave blew them to the ground,
cooling lava crackled like shattering glass.
Five hundred miles away, our sky burnt and dark,
ash from Mt. St. Helens dusted the grass like grey snow.
We scooped it into a jar that still sits on a shelf--
in memory of those who died, in tribute to rivers
that found new courses—while the quilt of diverse plants
and ecosystems blankets ever-changing slopes.
Meg Freer grew up in Montana, studied musicology, and worked in scholarly book publishing. She now teaches piano, takes photos and enjoys the outdoors year-round in Ontario. She holds a Graduate Certificate with Distinction in Creative Writing from Toronto’s Humber School of Writers, and her award-winning photos, poems and prose have been published in many journals. She is co-author of a poetry chapbook, Serve the Sorrowing World with Joy (Woodpecker Lane Press, 2020) and author of another chapbook, A Man of Integrity (Alien Buddha Press, 2022).