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


I,

Virgin Queen,

pipe my high-pitched

battle cry

to take this hive

to sting all rivals


Now worker mother

watch

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.