Nuclear Family Bees, Barrington River

by Les Murray

Little native-bee hives
clotted all up the trunk
of a big tree by the river.

Not pumped from a common womb
this world of honey flies
is a vertical black suburb

of glued-on prism cells.
Hunters stopping by
would toe-walk up,

scab off single wax houses
and suck them out, as each
smallholder couple hovered

remonstrating in the air
with their life to rebuild,
new ages, new sugarbag,

gold skinfuls of water.



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