May/June 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 3 Nature's Nature |

City Swarm

Out my second-story back window is a small plot of land, home to an old pine tree and a statue of the Madonna with paint chipping—my Jewish landlord's attempt at a joke. Every morning, I go to this window to catch sight of the earth before I settle in at my computer. Today, holding my coffee, trying to see past the cable lines, I behold a vision: a golden plume of light and sound. God to Moses. What is it? Mayflies? It takes me a moment to comprehend. Then one lands on the window and I see its famous stripes, its veined wings. Bees. Flying through the June air are thousands of bees cartwheeling over each other. They move through and around, making beautiful, indiscernible patterns. Their honeyed bodies dance in the sun. I want to put my hand out and feel them, as you might the tufts of cotton from a cottonwood, but think better of it. It's like being showered with manna, so unexpected and welcome the sight. Here in Chicago there is so much life—some 2.7 million p

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Paula Carter’s work has appeared in the Southern Humanities Review, New South, Broadsided Press, Quick Fiction, and Rhino among other journals. She holds an MFA in fiction from Indiana University and is currently working on a collection of short-short nonfiction essays.

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