Driving Home from Stockton, New Jersey

All summer we see them: honeybees
under brightest suns toiling, well into dusk;
they scout, tinker with blooms of lavender,
sunflower, mint—then bear the rich daubs
of nectar back to the common hive.
                                                        So too,
these long black nights, workers fix roadways;
in heavy black jackets striped with yellow
plastic (top to bottom, front and back),
reflecting glare more harsh than any suns,
men in clusters hover under flowering
floodlamps hoisted to cast billion-watted
haloes that buzz against pitchblack and drown
their sphered yellow hardhats, dazed halfmoons
that can’t rise above the forest’s dark
horizon.
            Throughout the white hot nights
of March, shadowless, they sweat in their outfits,
swallowing air that’s dense with acrid scent
of boiled tarmac; steamroll the pavement,
unload their deposits, stripes of white
reflector paint, down on the dark roads,
their labor invisible to headlights
of speeding cars guided from danger,
                                                           dashes
of stripes underneath, at the shoulders
solid stripes flashing past as feature 
natural to asphalt,
                            but where is the hive
for the workers’ harvest, or where
do they sleep their days away?