Outside the City Limits

Hollyhocks grew at the end

of the clotheslines. Rocketed past

silver posts to sway above singing

steel ribbons and lure the risk taker

with saucer shaped blooms, stamens

laden with pollen and swollen

bumble bees. Escaping the steamy

house, she came and watched

bees tumbling around like laundry

in the old Maytag. Looked for an

opening and slowly cupped

her hand behind a bloom,

steadied her breath, slid her fingers

forward and shut the glistening blossom,

deftly twisted the petals, snapped the

stem and launched the tiny missile

skyward. Like pastel parachutes they

fluttered open, bees winging toward

the eastern meadows, spent flowers

like deflated balloons. No one ever

questioned how she spent her time

and bees don’t tell.