Reflections of the Bumblebee

by Maia Elsner

Studies show that a human brain keeps churning after the heart stops beating. No such study has been conducted with bumblebees. i. Monkshood is best flower for resting as rain drip drips, there is bergamot, sweet milkweed, snapdragon forest, red, red spider perched cricket, nest blue-tit eggs, hello butterfly. ii. The 2015 Paris Agreement committed global leaders to limit global warming to under 2 degrees, and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. We are currently headed for 4-5 degrees increase in temperature. At the rate of 2 degrees warming, 18% of all insect species will be lost by 2100; at 3.2 degrees, this figure increases to 49%. Bumblebees are particularly at risk. After drip, drip where is monkshood, where is bergamot, no milkweed, no forest, where is forest, red, red, hot concrete, ploughed field, ploughed people, where is spider, no water. iii. ‘as late capitalism writhed in its internal decision concerning whether to destroy earth’s biosphere or change its rules’   —Kim Stanley Robinson As monks, black-hooded antenna bowed, we mourn green sphynx moth & grass dart butterfly – they too have lost their nesting – remember us & tiger beetles in buttercup meadows, at least there are still buttercups, if only buttercups. — Maia Elsner grew up between Oxford and Mexico City, and began writing poems in Massachusetts, USA. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Colorado Review, The Missouri Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Magma, Stand, Blackbox Manifold and Willow Springs, among others. She was shortlisted for the 2019 White Review Poetry Prize and the 2020 Mairtín Crawford Award for Poetry, and commended for the 2020 Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize. Her poems have been anthologized in Un Nuevo Sol: British LatinX Writers (flipped eye, 2019), Field Notes on Survival (Bad Betty Press, 2020), Live Canon 2020 Anthology (Live Canon, 2020) and Crossing Lines: An Anthology of Immigrant Poetry (Broken Sleep Books, 2020).   Artwork by: Inge Maria