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Stung

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She couldn't help but sting my finger,
clinging a moment before I flung her
to the ground. Her gold is true, not the trick
evening light plays on my roses.
She curls into herself, stinger twitching,
gilt wings folded. Her whole life just a few weeks,
and my pain subsided in a moment.
In the cold, she hardly had her wits to buzz.
No warning from either of us:
she sleeping in the richness of those petals,
then the hand, my hand, cupping the bloom
in devastating force, crushing the petals for the scent.
And she mortally threatened, wholly unaware
that I do this daily, alone with the gold last light,
in what seems to me an act of love.

Poem copyright ©2016 by Heid Erdrich, “Stung,” from If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems (Univ. of Minnesota Pr., James P. Lenfesty, Ed., 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Heid Erdrich and the publisher.
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Stung

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  • Poet Heid E. Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, and raised in nearby Wahpeton, North Dakota, where her Ojibwe mother and German American father taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school. She earned a BA from Dartmouth College and two MAs from the Johns Hopkins University, in poetry and fiction.
    Erdrich is the author of several poetry collections, including Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems (2012), National Monuments (2008), winner of the Minnesota Book Award; The Mother’s Tongue (2005), part of Salt Publishing’s award-winning Earthworks Series of Native American and Latin American literature; and Fishing for Myth (1997). In a 2012 review of Cell Traffic, critic Elizabeth Hoover wrote of Erdrich: "It's too pedestrian to say she "writes about" biology, history, spirituality, motherhood and her heritage as Ojibwe Indian and German American. She doesn't write about these subjects as much as she uses them to create a...

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