One hand on throat

One hand on heart

Deep breath in. Long hum out.

Humming the bees back

Our voices send the thrum of humming

out to the Pacific beach

In Chacala, Mexico, where the bees die at

the edge of wave and sand.

One lone bee hears the humming,

Feels the vibration in its amber body

striped in black, half buried in sand crystals

Humming the bees back

Our hands feel the trembling of vocal chords,

The beat of our hearts.

The bee the size of my thumbnail

kicks its back legs, weak and still alive.

Translucent wings held outwards

show fine black lines

like cracks in window panes.

Stir little bee. Rise little bee.

The wings lie still, the feet go quiet

A wave rolls in, the bee is gone

and still we hum

and the humming grows

until the tree leaves hum

the grackles hum,

the fishermen hum,

the children splashing in waves hum.

The frigate birds skate the hum

across the sky until the humming

becomes visible cracks in

a broken window.

The sky cracks open wide

and the humming bursts through

and a kingfisher flies into

the sky hole with a chatter hum.

The whole world inhales.

Holds one hand on throat

One hand on heart.

All is still.

The humming is held breath.

The bees that are dying struggle to lift their

heavy feet from sandy death beds.

Then it happens.

The grackles squawk it

The pelicans open their bucket beaks

The trees gather up every leaf

in readiness.

The kingfisher slices back down through

the crack in the sky and the

bees stream in, rivers of rivers of

bees like a living, humming tail.

Bees of every size, 20,000 species

and their humming releases the

held breath in the world and 

our humming becomes the healing chant.

The lone bee washed out to sea

flies up from a wave on glass pane

wings that are not cracked, but are

patterned with language.

The kingfisher lands on her perch

Ruffles her feathers, shakes her crested head,

Flicks her stubby tail,

and rests.

Humming becomes lullaby

carried on waves

carried by tides

carried by moon, by sun and by wind.

A great gentleness descends upon this

broken earth, waiting for flowers

to again bloom not on her grave

but on her dancing feet

that undulate like millions

and millions

of returning bees.

Humming the bees back

--by Marina Richie

Chacala, Mexico, February, 2019