February, Glenn County
George Perreault

now and then you’ll find them crashed on a roadside, hives
broke open, honey all spilt, bees blinking out into sunlight,
confusing the morning air in dark spirals, maybe someone
stung into shock, even to death but mostly it’s by the numbers,
the write-off, who’s the new driver, where’s the next orchard,
business, you know, thirty-one billion for the central valley, and
almonds alone—ninety million trees and each in a good year
carries seven thousand nuts—
           do the math—
                 afterwards trucking
north to cherry and apple, maybe east for alfalfa, anything
that grows, citrus or plum, all kinds of berries, pumpkin and
squash—your table’s filled by worker bees rented each spring,
and sure, sometimes they’re crushed in a bar ditch, pollination
it ain’t always easy or cheap, high wind and flood, but mostly
the bees get it done, and harvest, well, that’s another deal too

George Perreault has received awards from the Nevada Arts Council, the Washington Poets Association, the International Dancing Poetry Festival, the McCabe Poetry Prize, and the Fischer Prize in Poetry. He has served as a visiting writer in New Mexico, Montana, and Utah, and his work has been nominated both for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent work appears in The American Journal of Poetry, Timberline Review, High Desert Journal, and Weber – The Contemporary West.