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

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HAVENT HEARD FROM YOU IN AGES STOP LOVE YOUR
LATEST SHOW STOP THIS NO PHONE STUFF IS FOR BIRDS
LIKE YOU STOP ONCE SHOUTED UP FROM STREET ONLY

RAIN AND YOUR ASSISTANT ANSWERED STOP DO YOU
STILL SLEEP LATE STOP DOES YOUR PAINT STILL COVER
DOORS STOP FOUND A SAMO TAG COPYRIGHT HIGH

ABOVE A STAIR STOP NOT SURE HOW
poem

Lady, won’t you wait
out the hurricane

all night at my place—
we’ll take cover like

the lamps & I’ll
let you oil

my scalp. Please, I needs
a good woman’s hands

caught in my hair, turning
my knots to butter.

All night we’ll churn.
Dawn

will lean

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