Voices on the Wind
MY FRIEND FROM FOREVER
by Dick Bakken
Big gold-name-stamped journal 5/10/89 Bisbee
Yelping, dodging, I ducked
away from an enraged wasp bouncing
off the front window into mirror. My Aunt glanced
these wildest eyes, wrapped me to her lap.
“O you know, Dickie, Dickie, if you dare hold
your breath, they just don’t sting.”
I trusted as a bloom of
childhood. Out beyond the big sprinkler
wrestle, I boasted spattered Donnie
I’d bare-hand bees, curled my palms lifting
honey buzzers off dandelions, secretly ballooning
lungs, for Donnie’s huge eyes.
Donnie gawked me kiss
bees to this heart, my pooched lips.
Begging, he pinky-promised his taps-bugling
tin soldier. I laid out how animal breath
must send mystery from our pores, maybe a vapor,
if bees are to feel we’re alive.
Clutching at blooms,
Don yipped eee-Yow! That instant, I got my
aunt meant only stay still and let them fly. Gaping
his blistered thumb, I knew I had slipped
free again. Not a tiny red nip
or bumps all through this aching hair.
Five years ago I lay too sickly
to make our 25-year high school reunion, two
more, I nearly passed. Clasping that alum
send-out Donald Zolman had died, I felt those bees
prickle his golden fleece, open eyes,
swarmed genitals—and held my breath.