Bombus sonorus

 

 

A bumblebee knocked inside an elevator. 

Two buzzes overlapped: the trapped insect

and the halogen tube’s citrus light.

Fear made the suits and dresses wait

 

in the lobby, hearts knocking in their chests. 

Let’s take the stairs overlapped with I hate

anything with wings.  A citrus-bloused woman

waited with her coffee and poppy seed bagel.

 

A man knocked on wood.  The shadows

of sycamores and employees overlapped

in the courtyard, the sun a ball of citrus

sitting on the sky’s table.  While waiting

 

for the bumblebee to knock it off,

the secretary had two memories, overlapping

like film slides: a citrus tree mobbed

with these clumsy bugs and waiting inside

 

a stuck elevator, a fireman’s knocking. 

There her life overlapped with a stranger

wearing citrus-scented cologne, her pulse

quickening as they waited to be rescued.

 

Weeks later he knocked on her door,

their bodies overlapped in the bedroom. 

Weeks later he left, the scent of citrus polluting

her sheets.  Still she waited for his return,

 

for his knuckles to knock, but their lives

overlapped once.  When the bumblebee

fumbled under the citrus sun, someone asked

the secretary, What are you waiting for now?

 

*

 

Tromp L’Oeil

 

What’s left of his silver hair he wants

cut so his wife would stop calling him

Mr. Cumulus.  He tells his hairstylist

how short with forefinger and thumb

centimeters apart as if showing her

a phantom pill, one of the dozen

he takes daily to keep the four channels

of his heart unclogged, blood thin,

joints without fire, the great icebergs

of ache from colliding into his body. 

She turns to get her scissors and turns

again to see his head shuddering

like a dandelion in an earthquake,

the cape Velcroed to his neck going up

down up down above his crotch. 

She’s thinking what you’re thinking. 

He’s thinking I should be cleaning

my glasses with my handkerchief. 

In the mirror he squints at her reflection,

pink cloud of face, orange smudge

of flowerpot she raises above her head

before shattering it against his skull.

True story, unless the hairstylist

who told the hairstylist who told

the hairstylist who’s now clipping

my hair lied.  Or the hairstylist twice

removed loves embellishment.  It’s how

every story telephoned from person

to person becomes after each telling

distorted, the way these parallel

barbershop mirrors keep repeating

each other to make a green tunnel

I can see myself walking through.

 

 

**

 

David Hernandez's first book of poems, A House Waiting for Music, was published by Tupelo Press in 2003. His second collection, Always Danger, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in March 2006. His poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, The Southern Review, Epoch, Iowa Review, and are forthcoming in FIELD and Pleiades. His drawings have also appeared in literary magazines, including a feature in Indiana Review. A recipient of a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, his chapbook collections include Man Climbs Out of Manhole and Donating the Heart. David lives in Long Beach, California and is married to writer Lisa Glatt.

 

 

 

 

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