The thing about nature is
it doesn’t need coaching. Fire
flares true, first strike out of a match.
Infant waterfalls sing like experts.
Acorns squeeze out oaks, each leaf
a born breather. Even Darwin’s mutations.
Paragons. Every one a prima donna,
a first fiddle.
_____________So is it not strange—
child of nature that I am—to wake
each day having to slog through scales?
Today, I’m practicing happy.
First step—the smile.
I’ve whitened my teeth, massaged all
facial muscles, rouged up, and positioned
myself in front of the mirror.
Suddenly a bee, big as a blackberry,
bumbles against my window, knocking
for attention. Rolling in azalea cups all morning,
she weaves in slow motion then hovers
like a helicopter, humming
to herself. The key, C major.
No black notes, no sharps, no flats.
Only naturals—the fan of her own wings,
the bliss of her own buzz.
She doesn’t practice.
She doesn’t have to. She knows.
To make honey, you follow the dance.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.