Yesterday, Northern Michigan, Interstate 75

By John Hazard

Featured art: Historic window detail, Port Huron, Michigan by Carol M. Highsmith

Four times today the bee has banged
his head against my window.
He wants erotic pollen and thinks
he smells it here, the indoor side of glass.

These days people say madness
is expecting something new
from old behavior. So this must be
a lunatic bee—bad wiring or bad parents,
the bad apple, the not-our-kind-of
bee. In the corner of my eye,
like a floater, but more sudden,
he breaks left and attacks the window,
throbbing with what he must have.
Yesterday in northern Michigan the blue sky
unzipped itself and let a swallow fall, fast,
beak first, so straight it seemed
he’d aimed for asphalt, saw a bug there,
had to have it. The bird bounced once,
twenty yards ahead. I had to steer
a little left to clear the body.

This May’s been cool and wet, such a daily, fresh
dawn breath that the season and the trees
did not expect it. Only crazy animals expect,

like bees, or a swallow lit gold in morning sun,
heading for his usual spot on a white pine branch
only two lanes east, where the world was
what he remembered and desired.


A native of southeastern Ohio, John Hazard now lives in Birmingham, Michigan. He has taught at the University of Memphis and, more recently, at the Cranbrook Schools and Oakland University in suburban Detroit. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best of the Net and has appeared widely in magazines, including Arts & Letters, Ploughshares, Poetry, Shenandoah, Slate, Gettysburg Review, and Terrain.org. His 2015 book of poetry is Naming a Stranger (Aldrich Press), and his current manuscript, Interrupting the Sky, needs a publisher.

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