2012 String Poet Prize First Prize

Two full-time checks could hardly pay the bills—
and sometimes they still didn’t—let alone
prescriptions and more urgent kinds of pills
that soothed, or caused, another broken bone.
The heat went out. Most months it couldn’t wait,
no more than the plumbing that would clog and cough
and give out at some ever-faster rate.
The numbers never worked out to take off
the half-hive on an upstairs window-pane.
Its gray curve could be made out from the street.
The flat side, facing in, exposed a grain
of chambers churned by drones and queen, complete
with larvae, eggs, scant honey on the comb,
and all the furtive workings of a home.

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