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About this Poem 
“‘Hive’ is the final poem in my new book Brown—a collection that takes up boyhood and brownness, moving through Kansas and the South, from James Brown to John Brown to the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case that transformed American life. Indeed, life hums here, in this boy remembered or imagined, the poem offering a kind of winged benediction—a song that summons suffering, but does not succumb, I hope.”
—Kevin Young

Hive

The honey bees’ exile
     is almost complete.
You can carry

them from hive
     to hive, the child thought
& that is what

he tried, walking
     with them thronging
between his pressed palms.

Let him be right.
     Let the gods look away
as always. Let this boy

who carries the entire
     actual, whirring
world in his calm

unwashed hands,
     barely walking, bear
us all there

buzzing, unstung.

Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Young. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Young. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kevin Young

Kevin Young

Kevin Young's poetry collections include Brown, forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in April 2018 and Book of Hours (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014), winner of the 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. 

by this poet

poem
To allow silence
To admit it in us

always moving
Just past

senses, the darkness
What swallows us

and we live amongst
What lives amongst us

*

These grim anchors
That brief sanctity

the sea
Cast quite far

when you seek
—in your hats black

and kerchiefs—
to bury me

*

Do not weep
but once, and a long

time
poem
There are gods
    of fertility,
corn, childbirth,

& police
    brutality—this last
is offered praise

& sacrifice
    near weekly
& still cannot

be sated—many-limbed,
    thin-skinned,
its colors are blue

& black, a cross-
    hatch of bruise
& bulletholes

punched out
    like my son’s
2
poem
Waking early
with the warming house
my grandmother knew what to do
taking care not to wake
Da Da 		she cooked up a storm
in darkness 	adding silent spices
and hot sauce

to stay cool. She ate later, alone
after the children had been gathered
and made to eat
her red eggs. Da Da rose
late, long after
the roosters