originally published June 2002

Audio: Hear X. J. Kennedy read "Beard of Bees" (0:58)


Also by X. J. Kennedy:
Small House Torn Down to Build a Larger (2005)

at the farmers' market


The arbor of his chin
Bedangled with a cluster
Of yellow grapes that buzz
Like an electric razor,
This raiser of honeybees
With face in half-eclipse
Coaxes some hairs aside
To clear space for his lips.

He's a master of close shaves.
How well he does one thing,
With what abandon braves
Disaster's sting,
Quite unlike refugees
Crossing a perilous sector.
A whir--his moustache flies
Away in search of nectar.

X. J. Kennedy is the author of many collections and anthologies of poetry, including In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: New and Selected Poems 1955-2007 and Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry (1999). He lives outside Boston.