This poem is commended in the Golden Shovel challenge on Young Poets Network (YPN), judged by Peter Kahn. A Golden Shovel poem uses a phrase from a pre-existing text to make up the end-words for each of its lines. Find out more about the Golden Shovel form here.

to bee, or not to bee

by Georgie West

A Golden Shovel after Shakespeare

the garden yawns: it has just struck two
o’clock. small creatures crawl, summer-drunk and muffled by heat. in the dirt, a bee
tumbles over and over itself, belly showing, legs whirling dust. i excavate, scooping up an ore
made of hot earth and gravel and grass and animal, a hysterical knot
of black back leg and sun-drowned wing. i, too,
take on that silent frenzy of his. i cannot leave him here, cannot let him be.

the sun sinks, somehow, and the garden yawns again. he is drowning. that
steady, mortal drown. slowing down, slowing, down – weightless, now.  he is –

still. curled in a ball, my cheap handful his grave. it isn’t enough. the
sun sets, and i ask him where he wishes to be. but he has no breath to tell me, no mouth to question.

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