She works bare-armed among the hives,
Red-gold hair loose against the wind,
Bees dance upon her arms
Amidst burning rose and lavender,
Purple, silver, pink and indigo,
Forever out of reach.

It is a small space,
This yard behind her house,
Where you stand within the shadows,
Hiding from the sun
Where she basks un-stung,
Summer winds, unreachable.

Bee-wings glitter 'round her face,
Queens rest quietly in her hands,
As she whispers each secret name-
Only the edges of which you catch,
Where you stand silent, barely seen
Untouched among the shadows.

Honey and lavender, scarlet-rose and amber,
This place is of the sun, flaming June,
But not the blowsy heavy woman
In the painting from your childhood
She is a fragile hummingbird,
Flashing always out of reach.

Bees swirl up around her,
Their long drawn-out droning hymn
Cradling her in song,
She does not see you where you stand-
Forget this morning's shared cup of tea;
These flocks and herds are hers alone.

Blinded now by red sun shadows
You turn back into her darkened room
To the bed you sometimes share.
You memorize her lingering scent,
Knowing outside her window is reality-
While inside you are illusion.