Conversation Between the Beekeepers – Lynette G. Esposito

If we put them in boxes, they will hold up better.
No, they won’t be able to breathe.
They aren’t breathing anyway.
We need a stasis box. That way they won’t deteriorate any further.
What do you think they do with these long extensions stuck to their shoulders?
Do you think they could fly with them? They have one on each side.
No, I don’t think they could fly but they can reach and grasp. They have bendable digits. This one with the long-red fingernails was holding onto the ring of our ship when it fell. I caught it.
Is it alive?
It is unresponsive so I don’t know.
Poke it.
I did and nothing happened.
Put it in the stasis box. Clean the window so we can watch to see if it revives.
Do we have a box big enough?
We could use one of the boxes left over from the dinosaurs.
Good idea. We can’t use more than two boxes. The others are for the bees, and we are running low on space. More and more bees are arriving every day, mostly damaged. The boxes give them time to repair.
Have they gotten better in the boxes?
Not yet.
You’ve been here a longtime, right?
Did you get your certification yet?
No. You?
Working on it.
Do you think both could go in one of those old dinosaur boxes?
Maybe if we clean it out.
How long should we keep them?
Maybe a century.
Will they last a century?
Don’t know. Haven’t seen anything about this in the manual. We will have to wing it.
What should we label this box? Red nails?
Oh no. We could be accused of harboring an enemy if we get an audit.
We don’t even know what they are. How should the box be labeled?
When the bees came, we didn’t know what they were. Remember? Then we discovered how important they are. We will label this Box X. That way we can tell it from the regular bees.
Do you think these creatures are bees?
They don’t look like that species. The one has long hair and some kind of garments. The other doesn’t have hair on his top but lots of hair on his face. They might not even be the same species.
Their skin is soft.
In the old days, we kept for safety reasons, different species. This should be okay. We can petition for permission later.
What happened to them?
When the bees began to fail, they disappeared.
Did you remember to put ventilation holes in the boxes? You forgot with the dinosaurs and look what happened.
I thought you did it. Yes, the bees have ventilation, but the boxes are now filled with a gooey substance.
What do we do with that?
Look out. The red nailed thing is out of the box. She’s setting the bees free. Where are they going. Ouch.
Did they bite you?
No, the soft thing bit me. She’s opening the ship door. She jumped. The bees are following her.
Are we in trouble?
No, nobody looks too close in this job. It’s below the prime watchers.
How did you qualify for this position anyway?
I have a cousin.

Lynette G. Esposito, MA Rutgers, has been published in Poetry Quarterly, North of Oxford, Twin Decades, Remembered Arts, Reader’s Digest, US1, and others. She was married to Attilio Esposito and lives with eight rescued muses in Southern New Jersey.

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