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Queen Bee by Lisa Kelly

You found me

holed up

in a honeycomb cell

(little white grub)

spooned royal jelly

from the gland in your head

Worker mother

all diligence

all death

could not stop spooning

could not stop dying

as I fed and fed

Instead of being

a little you

all diligence

all death

war raged in the wings

inevitable as a curse


Virgin Queen,

pipe my high-pitched

battle cry

to take this hive

to sting all rivals

Now worker mother


my nuptial flight

as drones congregate

leave me

to this hex

to lay

more than my own weight

in eggs in queen cups

every day

the undertaker

will carry your corpse


Lisa Kelly's first collection, A Map Towards Fluency is published by Carcanet. Her pamphlet, 'from the IKEA Back Catalogue' is forthcoming with New Walk Editions. She is currently hosting COVID-compliant Bijou Torriano poetry events in Kentish Town.


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