By Maura Stanton
Featured Art: A Gentleman Who Wanted to Study the Habits of Bees too Closely, plate 6 from Pastorales by Honoré Victorin Daumier
“La créateur est pessimiste, la création ambitieuse,
donc optimiste.” —René Char
Because I feared I’d only make a mess
Sticking yellow pom-poms onto black ones,
Or bungle wings as I tried to shape the white
Pipe-cleaners into an outline of flight,
I never opened this kit I got one Christmas
In my stocking—a joke from my sister:
Create A Critter. Since I’m cleaning house
I could throw it away. But all I need
To make 2 Fuzzy Bees are glue and scissors.
Everything’s here—the velvet-tipped feelers,
Button noses, and eyes with moving pupils.
Ages 6 and Up—well, that’s me, isn’t it?
And as an Adult, too, I can Supervise
Myself. So why do I still hesitate?
If I make a bad bee I can toss it out.
Look at this package. The cellophane’s intact,
Directions printed on the cardboard backing.
Even the little loose eyes seem to twinkle
Inviting me to stick them to the heads
Where they belong. Yes, they’re Choking Hazards,
But I’m alone right now, no cats or babies,
And the dining room table is cleared of junk.
And so I do it. Soon my Fuzzy Bees
Are finished, bouncing on their wire legs,
Looking up at me, cute as their photos,
Ready to begin their lives as . . . what?
What have I done? I’ve given them existence.
Their wings will never lift them to the sky,
Their red noses will never scent a rose,
But look at them! Ambitious, optimistic.
Maura Stanton’s work has appeared recently in Ecotone, The Antioch Review, The New England Review, River Styx, Bateau, Plume, and Poetry East. Immortal Sofa, her sixth book of poetry, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2008.
Piece originally published in NOR 13.